ECONOMY

In Brief

Study disputes claimed size of Greece’s underground economy The size of Greece’s underground economy is around 15-20 percent and not 35 percent as indicated in a recent report by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), Professor Panayiotis Pavlopoulos said at a presentation of a study by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) yesterday. He argued that 35-40 percent of national product going unrecorded would require a work force of 1.5 million working the same hours and as productively as the rest – which is clearly not the case. Fighting tax evasion is certain to help in reducing tax rates and improve competitiveness in order to speed up growth rates, Pavlopoulos said. The study said two important factors that sustain the underground economy are toleration by the consumer and the absence of meaningful sanctions such as the revocation of licenses. Pilot study finds minimal harmful radiation from mobile telephony Initial pilot measurements of electromagnetic radiation in the environment sponsored by mobile phone operator Vodafone and the Thessaloniki prefecture, and implemented by Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University under a system named Hermes, has shown radiation from all sources to be tens of times below the officially prescribed limits, Vodafone said in a press release. The system, which consists of a central control station in the university’s radio communications laboratory and monitoring stations measuring a broad band of frequencies, found the contribution of mobile telephony to the total radiation to be around 0.02 percent, said Dimitris Michopoulos, head of corporate relations at Vodafone, which designed and set up Hermes. Measurement data is processed by computers and is available online at all hours (www.hermes-program.gr). Hermes was first installed in the Athens suburb of Holargos a year ago and is now also operating in the municipalities of Zephyri and Rendi in Attica and on Rhodes. Absolution denied The Finance Ministry denied reports on Tuesday it was planning to drastically reduce fines for businesses found issuing or receiving bogus invoices and receipts. But sources said the measure is intended for particular big firms that have received very large fines. Titan acquisitions Cement group Titan announced the acquisition of 99.9 percent of Bulgaria’s Plevenski Cement from Swiss group Holcim, and of 46.5 percent of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Usje Cementarnica from the same seller, bringing its total stake to 94.8 percent. The two plants have respective annual capacities of 500,000 and 1 million tons. Titan already owns Bulgaria’s Zlatna Panega, which has a capacity of 1 million tons. Interreg The European Commission is expected to approve this month a 65.35-million-euro scheme for cross-border cooperation in projects between Greece and Turkey, Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas said. It is the first time the two countries will cooperate under the EU’s Interreg program. Greece will contribute 46.60 million euros and Turkey 18.75 million.