Addressing the country’s industrialists last night, National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis announced a series of tax incentives aimed at bringing home capital from abroad and easing inheritance taxes. Speaking at the general assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), Christodoulakis said that a significant portion of Greek wealth lies in foreign banks. For this money to return, he promised a more beneficial tax system, with the aim of making Greece a strong financial center in southern Europe. He said that in the next few months he would be working with local banks to shape a framework for funds to return and be placed in high-yield investments, such as trust accounts, without additional costs and bureaucracy. The taxation of fiscal products in Greece and abroad will also be reviewed, so that those in Greece will not lag behind foreign ones. Christodoulakis announced that the inheritance or parental gift of shares in listed and non-listed companies would not be taxed, other than the payment of tax on the transaction – on condition that the amount that would have been paid in taxes is invested in the company. The year 2002, Christodoulakis said, can be called «the year of the small and medium-sized business,» because a number of policies being introduced will radically change the way these companies are treated in Greece. Christodoulakis announced that, from now on, 5 percent of the income from privatization will go toward supporting top students in universities and technical colleges. Earlier, SEV President Odysseas Kyriakopoulos said the government’s top priority should be to boost competitiveness, which is essential to economic growth and job creation.