ECONOMY

OECD toolkit reforms add billions

oecd-toolkit-reforms-add-billions

Greece’s economy has benefited by 5.66 billion euros from adopting 161 market reforms recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, out of a total of 775 in the OECD’s “toolkit,” according to provisional calculations by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).

In fact the benefit from the reforms – which triggered major infighting within the New Democracy-PASOK coalition in 2013-14 – is even greater according to the OECD and SEV, as in the medium and long term, lifting regulatory obstacles to competition usually tends to have multiplying effects.

Despite complaints by traders – who were generally hit harder during the financial crisis than the big chains and retailers – allowing stores to open on more Sundays has added 2.5 billion euros to the economy, according to the OECD. This was just one of the 708 recommendations fully implemented, though the OECD has only calculated the impact of this and another 160 reforms.

SEV is calling for the expansion of the practice of competition toolkits in more sectors, such as public administration, which could benefit greatly from some OECD technical assistance, the federation argues. It also says that the country’s exit from the bailout surveillance and the restoration of confidence in the Greek economy will mean that the implementation of pending recommendations stand to offer significant benefits to growth and employment.

According to SEV, the obstacles that continue to hamper competition include high energy costs, the distortions of the tax system, the lack of access to funding on reasonable terms, zoning and installation licensing regulations, issues related to town planning legislation, the special conditions on construction projects regarding energy and network services, the institutional framework regarding the construction of ports and marinas, access terms for technical professions, and legislation on transport within ports and airports, among others.