Gov’t hopes to ride wave of confidence

The government’s main priority for 2013 is to capitalize on the improving climate in the international financial environment regarding Greece in a bid to attract investments and create jobs, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a press conference alongside Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Wednesday.

“We shall do that according to specific objective schedules. We shall attract investment, not with wishes or public relations, but through specific substantial steps,” said Samaras, who chose to participate in the ministry’s briefing on its plans for 2013.

Focusing on three main pillars – liquidity, progress in public works and structural reforms – the plans are aimed at Greece finally becoming a country friendly to investment and entrepreneurship.

“After five consecutive years of recession, 2013 could become a turning point as long as we work with a plan, with a system and with efficiency,” said Hatzidakis, who presented detailed timetables for each of the ministry’s projects on legislative and other levels.

Its priorities include the construction of a cruise ship port in the broader area of Piraeus through public-private partnership (PPPs), the promotion of privatizations, as well as measures for reducing bureaucracy in realizing investments and in export procedures.

Hatzidakis further referred to the creation of the Hellenic Investment Fund, stressing it will operate under private management and according to private sector criteria.

The Development Ministry also intends to help to channel liquidity into the market by securing 7 billion euros through the activation of agreements with the European Investment Bank for the funding of small and medium-sized enterprises, the restarting of National Entrepreneurship and Development Fund (ETEAN) projects and the acceleration of projects subsidized by the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).

The ministry aims to complete talks involving the state, banks and contractors by February 4 so that construction work can restart on four highways by April. As for the Thessaloniki metro project, Hatzidakis announced measures to overcome the stumbling blocks that have brought works to a standstill.