ECONOMY

Gov’t hastens to finalize contracts, fearing snap polls

gov-t-hastens-to-finalize-contracts-fearing-snap-polls

The government is scrambling to finalize a slew of contracts worth hundreds of millions of euros as the prospect of snap elections looms large amid the recent political upheaval, Kathimerini understands. 

The contracts the government is keen to tie up include that involving offsets in a deal to upgrade the Hellenic Air Force fleet of F-16 fighter jets as well as plans for a system to oversee and manage municipal parking spaces and for a satellite system to provide information to Greek farmers. 

Critics point to transparency concerns, claiming that the pending deals have not been properly priced and are to be funded from the restricted national budget rather than European Union subsidies. 

One plan foresees Greek taxpayers forking out 14 million euros for a system that would install video assistant referee (VAR) systems in professional soccer clubs’ stadiums to help review decisions made by the head referee. 

Another plan sees the introduction of barcodes to track the distribution of all Greek newspapers and magazines. 

Other pending deals foresee the digitalization of the agricultural sector and the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH).

In a comment posted on the government’s online forum for public consultation of the OASTH plan, a company expressing interest in the project remarked that its budget – 39 million euros – is “several times above its real value” and offers to provide a more realistic assessment. 

The frenzy of activity around digitalizing services comes as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has assumed the cost of upgrading the country’s aging fleet of ambulances due to an absense of state funds for the purpose.