In the question that he tabled, Samaras called the government to task over "unjustifiable" high prices on the market, which were accompanied by 5 percent inflation and a deep recession. He noted that 56,000 businesses had closed while PASOK was in power, with another 150,000 closures forecast to come, leading to the loss of 300,000 jobs.
"In Greece we have 20 percent of the counterfeit goods trade of all of Europe and legal commerce loses 25 billion euros in turnover each year in this way - and the state six billion euro," he pointed out.
Businesses were being called to pay VAT that had they had not yet been paid and the recent tax bill, with its half-measures, had had a negligible result," ND's leader said. He also noted that the public investments programme was currently 70 percent below its annual target, loans to businesses were 13 times fewer and with sums 20 times lower. Absorption of the National Strategic Reference Framework had fallen, with 16 billion euros sitting around and making Europeans wonder," Samaras asserted.
The main opposition leader proposed a further cut in taxation rates and pointed to the example of Belgium, which greatly slashed VAT while demanding that businesses cut prices and hire new staff.
Replying, Papandreou said that ND had had five years in which to give business people a 'breather' and that PASOK was now here to relieve businesses of the "weight of the past".
"Of course we want to reduce taxes and I have asked the social partners to provide guarantees that they will pay the taxes and reduce contribution evasion and tax evasion - and I will give orders to reduce taxation by half. That is what I am waiting for because they also confess that this is the main problem," Papandreou replied.
He again blamed the country's present dismal economic situation on the poor management of the previous ND government, saying that this had absorbed miniscule amounts of the NSRF and allowed the country to slip in competitiveness by 36 positions in world rankings.
The prime minister countered by pointing to a present increase in exports and a slight improvement in the rate of GDP change, while also predicting a 'marginally positive' change in employment rates in 2013-2014.
He also asserted that business start-ups, at 62,000 had surpassed the businesses that closed in 2010 and that "the recovery of the economy is now in our hands".