Pensions and wages paid but only just

The Finance Ministry said that all salary and pension payments due Friday were made on time, apart from the wages for employees at OPEKEPE, a government body responsible for paying out farming subsidies.

OPEKEPE employees were due to be paid Friday evening, several hours after other civil servants. The government put this delay down to a technical glitch with the payment system but New Democracy insisted that it was a sign of the difficulties the government had raising the funds to cover its obligations.

OPEKEPE is one of the general government bodies that recently transferred its cash reserves to the Bank of Greece as part of the coalition’s efforts to find the funds it needs through short-term borrowing. The transfer of the cash reserves means that OPEKEPE has been unable to pay rent on some 50 buildings, Kathimerini understands.

In a further sign of the liquidity difficulties the government is having, the Foreign Ministry Friday ordered all of Greece’s embassies and consulates to transfer any excess revenues they may have back to Athens. This prompted a reaction, as such instructions were deemed unprecedented.

Ministry sources said that the request had to do with a recent decree forcing government bodies to transfer their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece. Athens insisted the request to ambassadors was simply part of the legal process and would only affect consulates, which have revenues from issuing visas and other documents.

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