Bill outlining handouts for low income Greeks submitted in Parliament

Bill outlining handouts for low income Greeks submitted in Parliament

A draft bill outlining handouts for low-income Greeks was submitted to Parliament late Tuesday with the aim of it being approved by Thursday.

New Democracy, the country’s conservative opposition, has said it will vote in favor of the bill.

Analysts say that the left-led government's plan to distribute a 1.4 billion euro social dividend for low income earners, announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, could be implemented at the expense of investments.

According to preliminary data published by the State General Accounting Office, the Public Investments Program (PIP) has, so far, lagged behind projected goals for the first 10 months of the year, as only 1.97 billion euros have been spent on investments since January, instead of 3.06 billion.

Even though the government’s draft budget stipulates that 6.75 billion euros will be spent on investments by the end of the year, analysts fear a repeat of last year when the PIP fell short of targets in order to finance the social dividend to low income earners in 2016.

More specifically, the program fell 462 million euros short of its initial targets in 2016 – an amount equivalent to two-thirds of social dividend distributed last year.

According to analysts, Greece has achieved a budgetary primary surplus of 5,355 billion euros, exceeding a projected surplus of 5, 239 billion euros, by slashing spending and the investment budget of the Public Investment Program.

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