ECONOMY

State pays half of its arrears

The Finance Ministry has paid arrears totaling some 4 billion euros owed to Greek taxpayers and companies since last December, which means that almost 50 percent of money in old debts to the private sector has returned to the market while another 4 billion has yet to be paid.

Data presented on Wednesday in Athens by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras showed that the ministry has approved the payment of expired debts adding up to 5.4 billion euros, although the amount that has actually been paid to date stands at just under 4 billion. July payments reached 641 million euros, said Staikouras.

In the period from January to July 2013 the ministry paid the retirement lump sum of 16,342 civil servants and covered 89 percent of military social security funding and 77 percent of the obligations of hospitals in the National Health System (ESY), i.e. 890 million euros out of a total 1.1 billion.

In reference to the problems that have emerged over the course of paying the expired debts, Staikouras stated that “some solutions have been proposed, and they have been channeled toward reducing the slowdown in the payment rate as much as possible.”

In the healthcare sector, and especially at ESY hospitals, direct funding by the General State Accounting Office has resulted in hospitals having fully paid all their old debts to procurement companies.

Concerning the National Organization of Health Service Provision (EOPYY) and the payment of the expired obligations of previous social security entities, in July the ministry reissued an order for payments totaling 250 million euros to pharmaceutical companies, clinics and others that it had first issued in June but which had not been paid. Now 190 million euros of that has been sent to banks for immediate payment.

There was also a notable slowdown in the payment of local authority debts, but this was mostly due to industrial action which affected the operations of municipal authorities.