ECONOMY

Six-pronged restart blueprint

six-pronged-restart-blueprint

The Finance Ministry is already planning for the next stage of the country’s economic revival, hoping that the first, starting today with the opening of some stores, will go ahead without any significant problems. The main challenges for the government lie in six areas: tourism, transport, exports, investments, employment and banks.

For now the ministry is swamped with requests from business entities seeking support to minimize the uncertainties of the near future. However, the budget margins are specific. On Monday or Tuesday Minister Christos Staikouras will listen to the demands of the food service sector that is justifiably worried about its future. A senior ministry source told Kathimerini that “no decisions will be made in the next few weeks” regarding the reduction of value-added tax in the sector.

The government is obviously waiting to see how the situation develops. Deputy Minister Thodoros Skylakakis told Skai TV on Friday that online transaction data have shown that consumption “has not been reduced as much as we had expected” and expressed optimism that “the Greek public will respond better” than businesses fear.

The revival measures will not come into force before June, say ministry sources, so that authorities can see the first signs of the extent of economic damage, mainly in tourism, and get a clearer picture of the scope of support through European Union resources.

With investment and employment being among the government’s six main challenges, it is no surprise the reboot measures will mainly constitute incentives to bolster investments and support employment, the same sources add. They include the reduction of the income tax deposit – a measure to be offset by the reduction of eurozone central banks’ profits from their Greek bond holdings – and the acceleration of amortizations.

The government is also preparing sector-specific measures focusing on tourism, the crucial domain of transport and sections of primary production, while banks will also require special attention.