Samaras calls for faster action in privatizations

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras asked his ministers and the board of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) to accelerate the privatizations program during a meeting on Monday at the premier’s office which included nearly half of the cabinet’s members.

The meeting was held in the wake of a report by the International Monetary Fund that suggested that if the targets set for 2013 are not attained, the TAIPED board will have to be replaced by foreign experts. This contributed to a heavy atmosphere at the meeting at the Maximos Mansion.

“I don’t want to hear ‘It will be done,’ but rather, ‘It’s done,’” Samaras is said to have told his ministers and the TAIPED chiefs. He asked Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni, Merchant Marine Minister Constantinos Mousouroulis, State Minister Dimitris Stamatis, Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras to speed up legislative and regulatory issues that are still pending and are hampering the smooth implementation of the sell-off program.

Government officials say that the meeting identified a delay in the issuing of decisions, regulations and clauses by ministries that have joint competency in sell-off projects and whose seal is vital for the implementation of the program. Delays were attributed to middle-level officials stalling in the processing of clauses and regulations.

Samaras reportedly asked for the privatizations of gaming company OPAP and gas companies DEPA and DESFA to be completed within the next three months, as that would secure up to 80 percent of the sell-off revenues target for 2013, amounting to 2.5 billion euros.

Sources say that binding offers for OPAP will be tabled by April 4.

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