Gov’t drafts multi-bill in hope of quick payment

The cabinet is expected to meet Thursday to discuss the details of a reform multi-bill the government is preparing in the hope that it will accelerate the conclusion of negotiations with lenders and the disbursement of further bailout funding.

The government would like to bring the multi-bill to Parliament as soon as possible because it believes this could help secure at least the 1.9 billion euros in profits from the European Central Bank’s SMP scheme. However, this will depend on the outcome of the Brussels Group talks, which are due to begin tomorrow and run through Saturday at the earliest.

Athens would like an extraordinary Eurogroup to be held before the regular meeting on May 11 to agree on a disbursement. However, the multi-bill will not contain the painful measures that Greece’s lenders are demanding, such as pension reform and rises in value-added tax. This means it is not certain the eurozone will agree to release any money, even though Athens is struggling to scrape together the cash to meet a 700-million-euro payment to the International Monetary Fund on May 12.

Instead, the multi-bill will contain a lot of the measures already proposed by the Greek side, such as ensuring the independence of the general secretariat of public revenues, strengthening tax collection and auctioning broadcasting licenses.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the draft law will not contain any emergency taxes or amendments to legislation on foreclosures of primary residences and the settlement of nonperforming loans. The latter two issues are of particular concern to lenders.

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