State debts to third parties keep rising

The state’s expired debts to third parties are mounting by the month according to the data announced on Thursday by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. In the period from January to October 2014 the state’s obligations came to 4.22 billion euros, against 4.06 billion euros in the year to end-September, mostly due to the debts of healthcare service organization EOPYY.

The amount of 4.22 billion euros would have been greater still had it included the tax rebates that tax authorities have not yet confirmed, and customs tax rebates.

Nevertheless Staikouras stated that by the end of the year the state’s expired debts “will have been reduced further by about 1 billion euros” thanks to the supplementary credit already supplied by the General Accounting Office to general government entities and the effect of mechanisms for the automatic correction of excessive healthcare expenditure.

As for the budget’s primary surplus, it continued strong through end-October, reaching 3.5 billion euros, or 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, according to General Accounting Office data released yesterday. In the same period last year the primary surplus had amounted to 1.4 billion euros or 0.8 percent of GDP.

“With unprecedented sacrifices by households and enterprises, the target for the primary result of the general government for a 1.5 percent surplus will be attained, as expressed also in the 2015 budget currently being debated in Parliament,” stated Staikouras.

The national debt amounted to 321.22 billion euros at the end of October, down from 321.22 billion at end-2013. State guarantees have declined considerably from 76.1 billion euros at the end of 2013 to 54.63 billion at end-October.

However, there was a notable drop in the revenues of social security funds, local authorities and state corporations. Social security funds saw their revenues decline in the first 10 months of the year to 28.32 billion euros from 32.74 billion in the same period last year, while local authority revenues fell to 4.93 billion from 5.64 billion a year earlier and state corporations reported a revenue drop from 5.37 billion to 4.17 billion euros this year to end-October.

To boost state revenues the Finance Ministry intends to employ all possible means to locate state debtors and deliver confiscation notices even if that is at hospitals or prisons.

The guidelines issued on Thursday by the General Secretariat for Public Revenues dictate that tax authorities will have to stick to the letter of the law and deliver the confiscation notices to hospital patients through the director of the institution, and to inmates through the prison director.