ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek Reform Program focuses on creation of more and better jobs Greece yesterday sent the European Union its National Reform Program until 2010, according to the Lisbon agenda for growth, including efforts realized and those planned for the coming years, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced. It focuses on public finances, structural changes and employment. «Our aim is for the Greek economy to become more outward-looking, dynamic and competitive so that better jobs are created and we can compete in a harder international environment with many countries having high competitiveness,» the minister said. He added that Greece cannot compete in labor-cost terms, but must rely on sectors such as services, high technology and high quality to secure ever-increasing well-being for all Greeks. Fresh hunt for tax evaders as VAT revenues decline The Finance Ministry is sending its Special Investigations Service task force out to replenish public coffers by the end of the year, arming it with new data about areas with declining value-added tax revenues compared with 2004. Ministry figures for August show a drop in revenues from VAT by 4.93 percent year on year, peaking in central and western Greece with 12 percent. A closer look at data reveals that tax authorities are not only far from meeting the budget’s targets for this year, but are also a long way behind figures of previous years. Garganas Bank of Greece Governor Nicholas Garganas ultimately emerged unscathed yesterday after a television report that he had awarded himself an 18 percent pay rise last year. Bank officials explained that the governor received raises according to a formula drawn up in 2001 and approved internally after the central bank gained administrative independence and before Garganas assumed the post. This raise amounted to 4.5 percent last year. UniNortel Unisystems and Canada’s Nortel yesterday launched their joint venture, UniNortel, which will sell and support the telecom and network solutions of Nortel in Greece and Cyprus, including installation, service and technical support of networks and solutions. Nortel’s Europe, Middle East and Africa director, Peter Newcombe, said «the creation of UniNortel shows Nortel’s commitment to the Greek telecoms market,» while Dimitris Liaroutsos, president and CEO of Unisystems, the owner of 70 percent of the new company, said that «the combination of the experience and knowledge of Unisystems in the Greek market with the best carrier and enterprise solutions of Nortel will allow UniNortel to play a key role in telecoms.» Tourism training The Tourism Development Ministry is tomorrow hosting the first National Meeting of the Tourism Vocational Training Forum in the amphitheater of the Development Ministry, an activity included in the «Competitiveness» program. Naoussa layoffs Naoussa Spinning Mills is definitely and irrevocably laying off 110 employees, its management announced yesterday.