ECONOMY

Karamanlis in private talks with businessmen

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday continued a recently initiated round of contacts with individual business leaders, meeting with the president of the Association of Information Technology Firms (SEPE), Spyros Vyzantios. Vyzantios proposed the setting up of a central coordinating body for the implementation of IT projects in the public sector that have been subject to serious delays, accentuating the serious financial problems facing the industry in the wake of the downturn in recent years. He noted that the planned projects, particularly those for the Culture Ministry, had been splintered into a large number of contracts which were difficult to coordinate. Discussion also dealt with SEPE’s demand for the abolition of a two-year law requiring IT firms to pay a levy to the professional associations of artists and writers for intellectual copyrights. SEPE asked to participate in a committee examining the amendment of legislation. A third serious issue discussed was the recycling of electronic and electrical goods waste and the recent, 500 percent increase in the levies charged on SEPE members, even though the agency set up for this purpose has yet to begin providing its services. The contracts for three major IT projects in the public sector are considered likely to be signed in the near future: the Police On Line, the systems for several regional health authorities, and three or four contracts for upgrading the Finance Ministry’s Taxis network. On Monday, Karamanlis met shipowner Vassilis Constantakopoulos, whose plan for a 600-million-euro resort in his native Messinia, southwestern Peloponnese, has been entangled in red tape for the last eight years. The development will include several luxury hotels and golf courses, and extensive conference, thalassotherapy and spa facilities. Management deals have been concluded with well-known firms Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts and the Kempinski hotel group. The design for one of the golf courses has been allocated to the internationally renowned firm of Robert Trent Jones Jr.