ECONOMY

Solidarity levy extended to 2016 in bid to meet targets

The government is extending the solidarity levy by two years, albeit with a 30 percent reduction on the rate imposed over the last three years. This forms part of Athens’s effort to cover an expected fiscal gap in the coming years as it knows that its creditors have not been convinced that it can reach the fiscal targets without any new measures.

“We are working hard to be consistent with the execution of the second economic adjustment program,” Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis told a Francophone business forum in Athens on Thursday.

The government is hoping the extension of the solidarity levy will persuade the troika to ease off while ensuring it meets its primary surplus targets, as the General Accounting Office expects the collection of 70 percent of the levy will bring in a total of 1.53 billion euros over the next two years.

Hardouvelis further referred yesterday to “the day after the bailout agreement,” arguing it should signal the start of sensible and responsible action.

“At end-2014 our European partners’ part in the adjustment program will end. From 2015 a new relationship will begin, which on our part will include meeting our fiscal targets, improving our financial indices, continuing reforms, and political stability with responsible action. For our partners, it will include their support in case of difficulties in drawing funds from the markets,” said Hardouvelis.

In a separate development, after a long wait, on Thursday the government tabled in Parliament a bill concerning new payment programs for those with debts to the state and the social security funds. It requires those eligible to submit their applications online, starting in the next few days and lasting until March.

The final text of the bill has been sent to the country’s creditors, but there had been no official feedback by late last night.