ECONOMY

Gov’t determined to tap the markets in H2 of 2014

Athens is determined to test the waters of the international money markets in the second half of next year for the first time since resorting to a bailout in 2010, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Parliament on Thursday during a debate on the 2014 state budget.

Staikouras stressed that Greece scored highest among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of reform implementation, that the privatizations of state assets are now taking place, that the economy’s competitiveness is being strengthened and that the fiscal policy targets are being attained for the second year in succession.

“There are strong indications that the people’s sacrifices are beginning to bear fruit,” said the Finance Ministry’s No 2, before setting out the government’s fiscal policy targets for 2014. They include dragging the illegal economy out of the shadows and into the light so it can be taxed, the strict application of regulations regarding fiscal discipline, the more efficient use of resources, increasing investments and exports, and the further strengthening of the long-term sustainability of the public debt.

On the subject of the debt, Staikouras noted that “the country has to prevent it from increasing further and reverse the growth trend both in absolute figures and as a percentage of gross domestic product. The issue remains open.”

The government was also supposed to table the draft law for the new Single Property Tax in Parliament on Thursday despite the fact that it has not been approved by the country’s international creditors. However, it has now postponed its submission, likely until Monday.

According to sources, the new version of the long-anticipated bill will see a reduction in the tax rate for properties with no electricity supply. It will also halve the tax burden on property owners with annual incomes of 9,000 euros or less provided that their properties do not exceed 150 square meters.