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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Dep. Development minister addresses Brussels event on investing in Greece
  • [02] Google-supported study details Internet use in Greece

  • [01] Dep. Development minister addresses Brussels event on investing in Greece

    AMNA--Greece's Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis on Thursday addressed business people and diplomats attending an event organised by New Democracy MEPs at the European Parliament, speaking about investment opportunities in Greece during the economic crisis.

    Other speakers on the investment climate in Greece included Delhaize group executive Philippe Dechamps and Hewlett-Packard's Senior Vice-President for Operations Tony Prophet, both of which underlined their commitment to existing investments in Greece, now and in the future, and their confidence in the changes in Greek infrastructure.

    Mitarakis stressed that Greece's strategic priority was to remain in the euro and said that the country was gradually starting to regain credibility abroad, as reflecting by a rise in investment interest. He also noted that Greece's coalition government was determined to turn the country into a "safe haven for investments" that would lead to growth and new jobs.amna

    [02] Google-supported study details Internet use in Greece

    Figures related to the spread and uses of the Internet in the Greece – increasingly essential for gauging a country's development – were detailed at a Google-supported presentation this past week in central Athens.

    Key findings included in a wide-ranging study showed that roughly half of Greeks use the Internet, while major domestic companies were also investing more for their online presence and activities. In fact, 93 percent of businesses quoted in the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE) study said they have Internet access, yet only 4 percent said they make orders online.

    The study, released in December 2012 and entitled "Making the Internet Thrive in Greece: Social & Economic Barriers", vigorously reiterated that the Internet can make a significant contribution to the recession-battered country's economy and society, "as long as Greek businesses and the public sector adopt specific practices, looking to the online era."

    To stress the point, the study cited a figure of 13 percent for Greek citizens using e-government services, as opposed to a 32-percent figure EU-wide.

    According to the study, the "slower than anticipated ... growth of Internet use in Greece" is mainly due to lagging commercial trust in the medium for security in transactions, social background, an often inferior quality of domestic e-services and still lingering concerns by professionals and businesses in the country over intellectual property rights and privacy issues.

    The event, which included a panel discussion with the participation of the finance ministry's new general secretary-general secretariat of information systems, Harry Theoharis, as well as the head of the general secretariat for consumer affairs at the development ministry, George Stergiou, was presented by IOBE research director Aggelos Tsakanikas and Google Hellas public policy manager Dionysis Kolokotsas.

    Asked directly how the Greek government intends to improve its tax collection processes via the Internet, Theoharis cited an overall policy that includes an e-invoices system, greater credit card use in private and public sector transactions, increased transactions through banking networks as well as easier access to public services and agencies in order to reduce "red tape". He cited the recently (2012) system of online payment and registration of vehicle toll fees and the system for allocating heating oil subsidies to individual consumers as efforts to boost e-government services.

    On his part, Stergiou said one sector where the Greek state appears as a "trend-setter" in the E, in terms of online services is the use of "observatories" to monitor and relay petrol rates at stations, certain super market prices and tuition fees at private tutorial schools. He added that collected data by his agency is "open accessed", whereas a consumer complaints platform to be inaugurated by the development ministry will feature a smart phone application, and possibly will not even require the submission of text.

    The IOBE study recommended that Greece's often creaky public sector alter public policies in favour of e-businesses and entrepreneurship, raise awareness of online opportunities, facilitate the greater development of high-speed broadband access networks and provide incentives for using e-government services.

    -- hkt


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