ECONOMY

Investment climate

Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias reiterated yesterday that the Greek government is committed to promoting a favorable environment for business by cutting red tape, enhancing transparency and changing the overall outlook concerning new investment. Speaking at the Athens Business Club 2004, Folias also referred to the government’s initiatives for «a fair and functional tax system» and a new developmental law with the public sector undertaking a role supportive of entrepreneurship. Folias urged foreign businessmen to exploit the opportunities, the infrastructure and the high rates of growth of the Greek economy, noting that tourism and industry remain promising sectors for new investment. He added that the Greek tourism market has the potential for developing into a round-the-year destination, with niche markets such as conference tourism, ecotourism and pilgrimage tourism. Folias also urged banks to back new entrepreneurs active in producing innovative goods and services, and spoke of the necessity of public-private partnerships in projects and services which he described as a unique, reliable solution for filling the vacuum after the Olympics as a result of the expected fall in public investment. «This model has been applied with great success to large infrastructure projects, such as the new Athens international airport, the Attiki Odos highway and the Rio-Antirio bridge. There is no reason not to apply it to smaller projects or the provision of services to the public sector,» Folias said. Folias said the Greek government realizes that more must be achieved in the direction of research and development and it is thus planning to increase funding for such purposes to 3 percent of GDP.