ECONOMY

Greek government proposes measures worth 3.7 bln

The government’s list of reforms submitted to the country’s creditors provides for revenues of 3.7 billion euros this year, according to sources. The measures include tax changes and structural reforms, taxing deposits abroad and a drop in anticipated revenues from privatizations.

Sources add that the Finance Ministry expects the reforms to take the primary surplus for 2015 above 1.2 percent, possibly to 1.5 percent, with the confirmation of those forecasts depending on how soon Athens and its creditors complete their negotiations.

Most of the anticipated revenues are seen coming from monitoring deposits abroad (725 million euros), combating value-added tax evasion (350 million), licensing TV channels (350 million), the settlement of expired debts to the tax and social security authorities (600 million), simplifying the income tax code (300 million), the receipt lottery plan (270 million), combating tobacco and fuel smuggling (250 million) and the new tenders for online gaming (200 million, against an original 500 million euros).

Sell-offs are now expected to fetch 1.5 billion euros, against an original target for 2.2 billion, mainly from the sale of a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority, the concession of the horse race betting license and regional airports.

The structural reforms said to be proposed include strengthening the autonomy of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues, the abolition of early retirements, the modernization of revenue collection practices with the abolition of exceptions, and the promotion of out-of-court agreements for the settlement of bad loans.

Sources from the prime minister’s office commented late on Monday that reports on the measures have been correct to a great extent but that there are significantly more measures in the list, which are analyzed in great detail.

On property taxation, a top ministry official said on Monday that “the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) has to change, but unless there is an intervention it will have to stay as it is,” generating concern about the government going back on its pledge to scrap the tax. “ENFIA will be immediately replaced by the Large Property Tax (FMAP),” government sources clarified later on.