The center-right government’s policy for tackling the country’s economic challenges is “irresponsible, if not criminal,” opposition leader Alexis Tsipras told business and industry representatives in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on Thursday.
“The government’s strategy of merely following coordinated practices, especially in the energy sector, but not intervening, while all along stating that the market can regulate itself, is irresponsible if not criminal,” the head of SYRIZA said.
As energy costs skyrocket globally, he said, Greece faces a “a wave of price adjustments that not does not just threaten citizens’ purchasing power, it also threatens small and medium-sized businesses that must follow the wave of adjustments, precisely because they have terrifying increases to deal with, on top of their debts and on top of the liquidity shortage.”
This problem of rising prices is most evident at the consumer level, with the “reduction of purchasing power and stagnant wages,” he said, adding that from the point of view of entrepreneurs and producers, price hikes will lead to a decrease in demand.
“We are entering a vicious cycle, so I think it is time to examine how we will intervene to deal with the problems that have arisen before they become insurmountable,” he said.
Tsipras also proposed a series of measures, against what he called “an explosive set of circumstances.”
These include the suspension of excise taxes on natural gas, agricultural diesel and heating oil, a significant reduction of the excise duty on transport diesel and petrol, and an extension of heating allowances to higher income levels, particularly in northern Greece due to the colder, longer winter.
“I find it inconceivable how, given the state of the economy, the government is making announcements celebrating high growth rates,” Tipras noted. [ANA-MPA]