NEWS

Government collects spare cash ahead of T-bill issue, IMF repayment

The coalition is stepping up its efforts to ensure that it has enough money next week to meet fresh debt obligations and has stressed again that it has no intention of delaying any payments to the International Monetary Fund.

Greece has two testing days in the week ahead: Wednesday, April 8, when it will have to issue a six-month treasury bill without knowing whether there will be interest from foreign investors, and Thursday, April 9, when it has to pay 450 million euros to the IMF.

“We strive to be able to pay our obligations on time,” Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas told Skai TV. “We are ready to pay on April 9.”

German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Finance Ministry general secretary Nikos Theocharakis as saying Greece would probably not pay next week’s IMF tranche and that Athens would be “close to the end” on April 9. The Finance Ministry issued a statement denying that this is what the official had said.

Quotes to the media aside, the coalition does seem to be making efforts to put in place the money it needs next week.

Kathimerini understands that Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis on Friday abandoned an attempt at the last minute to change the law to allow the central government to use money from the European Union-funded National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) that regional authorities were destined to use to pay for co-financed projects.

Stathakis ended his attempt to transfer these funds to the Bank of Greece after meeting regional governors, who were opposed to the move.

Instead, sources said the government will look to save some 700 million euros by holding back payments to third parties during April, allowing it to cover not only the IMF debt but also interest payments due this month.

The coalition is also due to pass an amendment guaranteeing that if public utilities or general government bodies lend money to the central government, in a process known as repos, the state will cover any losses that the organizations might incur. Sources said the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is the most recent body to loan money to the government in this manner, supplying it with 100 million euros over the past few days.