The government will not cut further wages and pensions horizontally, but will introduce specific interventions, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said on Tuesday.

Addressing a meeting of ruling PASOK’s parliamentary working sector in Parliament, the Greek minister said government measures included in a medium-term strategic plan, will not cause fear and panic, but will offer a new dynamism to the country and forecast that the economy will return to positive growth rates by the end of 2011 and early 2012.

The three-year program (2012-2015) will focus on cutting spending by 14 billion euros and raising revenues by 9.0 billion euros, Papaconstantinou said, adding that the medium-term strategic plan will be tabled in Parliament on May 16.

Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, the Finance minister said the budget deficit in the first three months of 2011 exactly met government predictions and said that lower revenues (1.3 billion euros) reflected a deep economic recession in the fourth quarter of 2010 (6.6 pct) and stressed that a six-month Treasury bills auction attracted more than three times more bids than the asked sum at an interest of 4.8 pct (up from 4.7 pct in the previous auction), while Portugal borrowed at 5.1 pct a few days ago.

Commenting on a draft legislation on gaming, Papaconstantinou said an amended draft will be tabled to Parliament after the Easter holidays after taking in mind observations made by PASOK deputies, such as prohibiting mixed gaming areas initially, all gaming machines will operate under OPAP’s umbrella at first, while the government will examine offering more licenses later.

Papaconstantinou said a priority was to implementing a single payroll system in the public sector and said the ministry will discuss payroll developments in public sector enterprises at a later stage. The Greek Finance minister will travel to the US on Friday to attend the IMF’s semi-annual meeting, for talks with Dominique Strauss-Khan and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner.

Employment ministry's contribution to government's medium-term strategic planning

The Employment ministry's contribution to the government's medium-term strategic planning was discussed during the meeting in Parliament between Prime Minister George Papandreou and Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Louka Katseli.

According to reports, the Employment ministry will contribute to this programme with 7.5 billion euros for the 2012-2015 three-year period.

Three billion euros will come from the curbing of medical and pharmaceutical extravagance, while the remaining 4.5 billion is expected to come from the restriction of uninsured labour, for which the target has been set for it to decrease from 26 percent to 12 percent.