ECONOMY

Debtors race to apply for settlement

Those with expired debts to the country’s social security funds are flocking to enter a new payment plan that allows them to settle their dues in up to 100 installments.

Within just one week debts adding up to 132.17 million euros have been arranged at the Center for Collection of Social Security Arrears (KEAO) through the new repayment program, which constitutes a strong argument for the government in its negotiations with its creditors, who are seeking more changes to the settlement regulations.

According to data presented on Tuesday by Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis regarding the course of the new debt settlement scheme at KEAO, 4,979 decisions have been issued in favor of settling total debts of 132,176,563.89 euros in up to 100 tranches in the first seven days alone.

The Social Security Foundation (IKA) has issued 2,885 decisions for debts adding up to 108.1 million euros, the fund of the self-employed (OAEE) has approved 1,688 applications for debts worth 20.7 million euros, and the farmers’ fund (OGA) has issued 406 decisions concerning debts of 3.4 million euros.

Vroutsis described the flow of applications for the new settlement program as entirely satisfactory, and expressed hope that participation in the scheme will continue to evolve at the same positive and encouraging rate. He reiterated that the regulation constitutes “a final window of opportunity for those who really wish to return to the path of social security decency.”

In the coming days a ministerial decision will be signed regarding the procedure for rewarding debtors who have entered earlier payment programs and adhered to them, so that they can decide whether to stay in their current scheme or opt for the new one with a greater number of installments.

Sources said that the delay in the issuing of the decision is due to the fact that electronically it is difficult to recalculate the debt to include the reward bonus that the law provides for. As a result, the ministry is considering the possibility of retaining installments at their current level and then deducting the sum of the discount due from the last few tranches.