Economic ministers set goals

Attracting foreign investment, a fair taxation policy, social consensus and fiscal stabilization are the new government’s key targets, said incoming Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis at the ministry’s handing-over ceremony yesterday. «A central goal of economic policy is balanced growth spreading into society and creating jobs,» he said. Alogoskoufis said the government would first seek to establish an accurate picture of the fiscal situation with the help of European Union departments. «We need a better and less wasteful state to save resources. Public debt and deficits continue to pose threats to the economy.» Boosting the competitiveness of small firms is a crucial factor which has to be combined with a «quality revolution» for Greek products in order to make them more attractive at home and abroad. Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas said tax reform was a top priority, in parallel with combating tax evasion and illicit commerce. An immediate concern is the smooth submission and processing of income tax returns, and the monitoring of public revenue collection, he added. Other priorities are making tax inspection mechanisms more objective and fighting corruption and red tape. Regouzas’s predecessor, Apostolos Fotiadis, said public revenue collected in the first two months was up 6.2 percent against a budget target of 6.3 percent. Sources said, however, that the figure included an amount of 1.5 billion euros which was improperly transferred by the outgoing government to last year’s budget.

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