Zannias sounds the fiscal alarm

The Finance Ministry is sounding the alert for the collection of state revenues, with caretaker Minister Giorgos Zannias setting the budget’s execution as his primary goal during his term in office. Budget revenues officially missed their target by 315 million euros in the first four months of the year, while in the first 15 days of May they shrank by 15 percent compared to the same period in 2011. “It is one’s national duty to pay one’s taxes,” Zannias told reporters in Athens on Monday. Greece cannot allow any relaxation in tax collection efforts during the current pre-election period, a time when revenue traditionally drops, he said. He duly gave the order for the mailing of the Single Property Tax (ETAK) clearance documents for 2009, which are expected to fetch up to 100 million euros by June 30. In the next few days 260,000 ETAK 2009 clearance notices will be sent to taxpayers who on January 1, 2009 were single and had properties with a total value of at least 100,000 euros and to taxpayers who on the same date were married and had properties whose objective value added up to at least 200,000 euros.

Moreover, there is now a serious possibility that the 2.6 billion euros the eurozone had set aside for Greece in June will not be coming to Athens, as inspectors representing the single currency bloc and the International Monetary Fund will not have concluded their scheduled monitoring next month. Ministry figures showed on Monday that the successful completion of the debt restructuring (known as PSI) reduced the central government debt from 368 billion euros (or 178.6 percent of gross domestic product) at the start of the year to 280 billion (136 percent of GDP) at end-March, i.e. a 24 percent reduction.

The Greek debt to the eurozone and the IMF grew by 93 billion euros at the start of the year to 130 billion at the end of March, while the debt to private parties sank from 274.8 billion to 149.5 billion euros over the same period. The Greek state will still have to repay just under 55 billion euros in the period from 2013 to 2015, with another 13.4 billion set for 2016. The main positive impact of PSI will not start to emerge before 2017.  

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