ECONOMY

Minister keeps new tax option

Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou is leaving open the possibility of taking additional measures in order to contain the budget deficit, as he said in an exclusive interview with Kathimerini. «We will not take any new measures if our program is implemented, that is, meeting our revenue targets, cutting down on our spending and reaching the growth rate we aspire to, although that is not just up to us. If there is a problem with any of those, then we will have to make the necessary adjustments to meet our targets,» said the minister. Papathanassiou added that the government’s main priority is to send out a message of fiscal discipline to the markets so that the cost of borrowing does not grow any greater. He also warned of implementing a tight income policy that will cover inflation but will not threaten fiscal adjustment, while rejecting the recommendation by Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos for a reduction in the deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product this year. The minister further noted that the government will not offer banks any additional bailout package, after the 28 billion euros it has already provided, adding that any bank needing greater cash flow should proceed with a share capital increase, with the state likely to participate. Greece will not have problems in its borrowing and in serving its debt, he forecasted, while also expressing his certainty that the government will meet the target of 1 billion euros in revenues from privatizations through the entry of strategic investors in state companies, the concessions of licenses, the sale and lease-back of real estate and the exchange of shares.