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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-31

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Finmin sees economy responding well to policy

  • [01] Finmin sees economy responding well to policy

    The economy has responded well to reforms under government policy with the budget deficit in 2005 seen falling below 4.0% of gross domestic product from over 6.0% inherited from the previous administration, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Unemployment dropped to 10.4% in the first quarter of 2005 against 11.3% in the same period a year earlier. Exports in the first half of the year rose by 7.0%, and tourism also showed an upturn due to policy, the minister told reporters.

    He was speaking after separate meetings with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and leaders of trade groups, as part of consultations on the 2006 budget, which the government is currently drafting.

    "Dialogue with the social partners is a fundamental choice for the government, which will also maintain efforts to apply its reform plan in the wider sector," Alogoskoufis said.

    He also noted that 483 corporate business plans had been submitted under the government's new investment law totalling 1.3 billion euros. So far, 134 schemes had been approved, representing 232.5 million euros of investment capital and 1,247 new jobs.

    Ministry officials said that GDP growth was estimated at 3.5% in the first half of the year, which would be maintained in the second half. The growth total for the year would be 3.5%-3.6%, likely move higher in 2006 due to a rise in public investment.

    The officials rejected talk that state revenue had risen due to the surge in global oil prices, as the hikes had reduced demand. They also attributed a decline in the rate of increase of revenue from Value Added Tax to tax evasion, which the government would combat.


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