ECONOMY

Priority for regional development seen after the Olympics

The government intends to give priority to regional development and the introduction of new investment incentives after the Olympic Games, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said after meeting officials of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE) yesterday. Discussion dealt with a broad range of issues, with SVVE officials urging that increased weight be placed on the infrastructure projects subsidized under the European Union’s Third Community Support Framework which have faced delays, and and on an in-depth study of the taxation system. «Taxation reform will solve us many problems and will encourage new investment, which in turn will solve social problems such as unemployment,» said SVVE President Dimitris Symeonidis. He added that with proper investment incentives, northern Greece could become the driving force for the development of the entire country. «Today, the firms based in northern Greece account for 55 percent of Greek exports; this percentage can be raised further through the creation of new businesses with innovative products and helping existing ones also develop such products,» Symeonidis said. Finally, he said the government must create a new legal framework, with a golden mean between banks and firms, for the chronic problem of compound interest, which causes unpaid debts to swell to huge amounts. The SVVE delegation later discussed with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis issues relating to Greece’s involvement in economic development in the Balkans. Logistics The logistics sector in Greece is still at an infant stage, lacking strategy, infrastructure, legal framework and training, industry officials told a press briefing yesterday, before the First International Exhibition of Transport and Logistics which opens at Thessaloniki’s Helexpo facilities tomorrow. «Investment in all the above fields is necessary to reduce the cost of final products and increase profitability,» said Panayiotis Ketikidis, of the Logistics company. He urged backing by the State and introduction of the subject in tertiary education. A conference on the subject of transport and distribution networks linking the EU and SE Europe and their development in northern Greece will be held in the city’s Nikolaos Germanos Center on Saturday. The exhibition, which will run to Monday, hosts 203 participants from 24 countries, of which 86 are Greek-based.