Wooing pension funds for cash

The State General Accounting Office has sent a letter to commercial banks asking them not to impose the usual penalty on state entities that decide to access their time deposits in order to supply the state with desperately needed cash. Despite the original opposition, the social security funds are finally giving in and handing over their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece, with about 290 million euros of that expected to be turned over to the central bank next week.

Sources say that the Finance Ministry is trying to make the BoG investment as attractive as possible to social security funds, local authorities and state entities in general, which is why the General Accounting Office has asked banks to show flexibility toward general government bodies that do hand over their reserves.

Most of the funds that had been submitted to the central bank have already been used for the payment of April salaries and pensions and what is left will be utilized in the coming days by the state in the servicing of its loan obligations abroad.

It took an eventful board meeting at the Social Security Foundation (IKA) on Thursday for the country’s main pension fund to agree to submit 70 million euros of its reserves to the BoG. The meeting was interrupted by an invasion of a group of Communist Party-affiliated PAME unionists, who were against such a decision. Earlier a number of IKA pensioners had staged a protest outside the fund’s Omonia offices with the same demand.

The board of the Farmers’ Compensation Organization (OGA) decided to submit 50 million euros, while another 100 million will be handed over by ETAA, the fund of the self-employed, some 50 million will be delivered by the Seamen’s Fund (NAT) and 20 million by the Civil Servants Fund.

By May 12, the government will have to pay the International Monetary Fund a sum of 890 million euros, which has not yet been collected, while the funds needed for the payment of May salaries and pensions are clearly not available yet.

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