OPINION

There is cash to be found for the state

It seems that because the Greek state is in such a tight fiscal situation, it should be doing everything possible to raise cash to lower its debts. A quick look at the Athens Stock Exchange, and more specifically the companies listed on the FTSE/ATHEX 20, reveals several companies from which the Greek state should divest in order to raise cash. Companies like OTE telecom, Public Power Corporation and state betting agency OPAP are profitable companies whose stock is partially owned by the Greek state and surely would function just as well if they were completely privatized. ATEBank stock sales by the Greek state would raise cash and divest itself from a loss generator. Perhaps it is time to privatize the OSE railways organization and see if private investors can cure it of its near-billion-euro losses. Sales of profitable companies would raise needed cash while divesting from loss-making enterprises would eliminate the drain on public finances. Maybe such moves would also help Greece’s standing in the bond markets and with its rescuers, the EU and the IMF, by showing that they are doing as much as possible to straighten out their finances, streamline the state apparatus, and make the real economy more efficient and productive.