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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-06

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't tables 2009 budget
  • [02] KKE opposition to OA sale

  • [01] Gov't tables 2009 budget

    The government on Monday tabled the draft 2009 state budget in Parliament, which sets out eight targets for the coming year, namely, a further reduction of deficits; enhancement of fiscal transparency; streamlining the management of state enterprises, local governments and state hospitals; more tax reform and cutting unemployment; more effective amelioration of poverty through activation of a previously announced National Social Cohesion Fund; greater development in the provinces, as well as boosting investments and ensuring satisfactory growth rates.

    According to the draft budget, which was submitted by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, net revenues are forecast at 65.8 billion euros, accounting for 25.1 percentage points of GDP, against 24.1 percent of GDP in 2008, while overall budget expenditures are forecast at 28.2 percentage points of GDP -- against 28.3 percentage points in 2008.

    Based on the above forecasts, the central government deficit will be contained at 3.1 percentage points of GDP, down from 4.2 percentage points in 2008, while the general government deficit will be trimmed to 1.8 percentage points of GDP, down from 2.3 percentage points in 2008.

    The 2009 draft budget contains a 13-percent increase in credits for the employment ministry; an 8.3-percent increase for the health ministry; a 6.1-percent increase for the education ministry; an increase of 7.7 percent for the agricultural development ministry, and an increase of 13.7 percent for the justice ministry, in comparison 2008.

    According to the 2009 draft budget, the basic goal of the government's tax reforms are relief for physical entities, a further reduction of income tax, expansion of the tax base and curbing tax evasion.

    Revenues from direct taxation are forecast at 26.9 billion euros, up 18.1 percent from 2008, while revenues from indirect taxation are estimated at 34.655 billion euros, up 10.4 percent from 2008.

    Alogoskoufis

    Unveiling the draft budget, Alogoskoufis that it was in line with the framework of economic policy and aimed at growth, increasing employment, and social cohesion, while it takes into consideration the impact on the Greek economy from the global credit crisis, as well as an anticipated rise in food and other prices, and a rise in inflation.

    The government's fundamental aim was continuation of fiscal re-adjustment, enhancement of the country's developmental prospects and reinforcement of the incomes of the economically weaker classes of society, the minister explained.

    Alogoskoufis also referred to the adverse international economic environment and the latest developments occurring on almost a daily basis, as he said, stressing that an end to the turmoil was not in sight.

    "All these have serious repercussions on European economy, while the impact on the Greek economy is more limited due to a broad programme of reforms and fiscal adjustment being implemented," he said.

    Alogoskoufis further referred to the achievements of the Greek economy in recent years, adding that, in the framework of the policy of fiscal adjustment, the minimal adjustment allowed by the EU (reduction of the deficit by 0.5 percent) would be implemented in 2009, while the National Social Cohesion Fund (or fund against poverty) would also be activated in 2009.

    He continued that the ministry services anticipated a 3.6-percentage point increase in GDP, containment of the general government deficit to 1.8 percentage points, and reduction of the state debt to 88.4 percentage points, while unemployment is projected to drop to 7.3 percent, whereas inflation is estimated at 3.2 percent. Further, the average real salary will rise by 3.4 percent.

    Regarding the Public Investments Programme (PIP), total expenditures were estimated at 8.5 billion euros, of which five billion euros would be funneled for projects co-financed by various EU Funds, with the remaining 3.5 billion euros allocated to projects financed exclusively by national coffers.

    Replying to press questions, Alogoskoufis was reassuring regarding the Greek banking system, saying it was absolutely secure and credit-worthy.

    Caption: FinMin George Alogoskoufis is shown tabling the 2009 draft state budget in Parliament, in Athens, on Monday, Oct. 6. 2008. ANA-MPA / SIMELA PANTZARTZI.

    [02] KKE opposition to OA sale

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday stressed that it should be made clear why national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA) is being privatised, addressing the board members of the Federation of Civil Aviation Trade Unions (OSPA).

    "The government and the opposition 'confuse' the OA employees, and in essence, undermine colleague solidarity," she said, pointing out that the ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK blame each other for the situation plaguing the ailing national carrier.

    Meanwhile, the Communist Party-affiliated trade group PAME held a protest on Monday at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport against the OA privatisation.

    Local PAME members briefly occupied a runway, staging a sit-in protest.


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