The state owes Greek businesses 5.38 billion euros. At a time when the latter still have to pay their taxes on time and must now pay 100 percent of the tax on next year’s incomes in advance, this means all their other obligations are being put on the back burner.
The figures released on Monday by the Finance Ministry show a 340-million-euro decrease in state arrears to the private sector in December 2015 from the previous month, but they are 50 percent higher than at end-2014.
The bulk of that debt, or 4.64 billion euros, concerns money that state authorities owe to their suppliers (up from 3.076 billion in December 2014), while the remaining 739 million euros concerns tax rebates that have not been paid out. The actual amount of outstanding dues to suppliers and taxpayers is much higher as the sum of 5.38 billion only regards the debts due for at least 90 days.
More than half of the debts at end-December were owed by the social security funds (2.77 billion), while hospitals reduced their arrears from 1.1 billion euros in November to 931 million in December. The debts of local authorities added up to 290 million (from 313 million in November) and those of state corporations amounted to 203 at the end of last year.
“Expired debts soared more than 51 percent in just one year,” commented Christos Staikouras, the New Democracy spokesman on fiscal issues.
The public debt decreased from 324.12 billion euros at end-2014 to 321.33 billion at end-2015, data also showed on Monday.