Omnibus bill to boost economy

Omnibus bill to boost economy

The government has introduced a number of measures aimed at improving the business environment in Greece with the aim of attracting more investments that would help the economy to start growing more robustly.

The measures are included in the investment incentives bill that contains clauses from various ministries and was tabled in Parliament in the early hours of Thursday. The House will start debating the bill on Friday.

The bill contains the lifting of a series of restrictions, especially those concerning manufacturing, the introduction of specific timetables for issuing permits for investment projects, and a more active role for the private sector – an idea that runs through the entire omnibus bill. It also foresees the checks of the state mechanism becoming more flexible.

However, the extent to which those measures will increase Greece’s attractiveness as an investment destination and improve the everyday functioning of corporations will depend on how well and how fast the public administration transitions to the new conditions, as well as the responsibility shown by the the business community, so that the looser regulatory environment does not descend into chaos.

The Labor Ministry has introduced interventions that will balance the sustainability of enterprises with the protection of jobs. The most important of these concern the process of recourse to arbitration, which will become harder to achieve unilaterally.

The bill includes three levels of exemptions from the terms of the collective labor contracts for enterprises with financial problems, but a clause has been added to include job protection among the exemption criteria.

The same draft law further provides for an increase in the salaries of senior officials at the state companies whose ownership has been transferred to the state asset utilization fund. Therefore, the directors of companies such as Public Power Corporation, Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) and its Thessaloniki counterpart (EYATH) may get salaries up to 7,500 euros per month, up from the current ceiling of 4,600 euros.

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