Regional Development and Competitiveness minister Michalis Chryssohoidis on Tuesday predicted a de-escalation of inflation in Greece to 2-3 percent from the current 5.4 percent, speaking after a meeting with a team of European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' experts who arrived in Athens on Monday for a scheduled review and progress report of the Greek economy ahead of the disbursement of a 9 billion euros third tranche of the 110 billion euros EU-IMF support loan to Greece.
The absorption rate of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) has already neared 15 percent and will close at 17-18 percent at the end of the year, contributing to a rekindling and restart of the Greek economy, he added.
Chryssohoidis also forecast that inflation will cease to be a major topic of discussion in the coming period, given that the rise in the rate last year had resulted from an increase in taxes which, he added, will not continue.
He further said that prices would fall in both products and services, adding that the process has already begun and in the previous month net inflation had increased by just 0.03 percent.
The minister said his ministry aims to move the focus from the fiscal problem to growth, the creation of new enterprises and new jobs, and announced that a bill on the establishment of a Greek Entrepreneurship and Development Fund -- the 'evolution' of the current Guarantee Fund for Small and Micro Businesses (TEMPME) -- and its funding with 460 million euros from the ESPA, will be submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday.
Also, in the next 10 days, the new development-investment law will also be unveiled, he said, adding that it will introduce a major revamping in the assumption of developmental initiatives by enterprises. Shortly, he continued, a special program to boost export companies will also be unveiled.
Chryssohoidis said that there has recently been a "spectacular increase in exports" while, by the end of the year, an electronic platform to support innovation and young entrepreneurship will be created, which is expected to contribute to the creation of at least 50,000 new businesses over the next two years.
Also ready is a bill for the reform of the operation of the Competition Committee, while the process of activation of the one-stop-shop for the creation of new businesses via the country's industry and commerce Chambers is also nearing completion, and the ministry is working on the simplification of licensing of industries and the establishment of new business zones, he added.
Troika delegation holds talks with Infrastructures minister
Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas was visited on Tuesday afternoon by the Troika delegation currently in Athens, to check data regarding the course of the implementation of Greece's stability programme. No statements were made after the meeting, but according to reports issues discussed included the curbing of expenditures in loss-making public utilities.
Troika inspectors visit Employment ministry
Troika inspectors insisted in their meeting with the Employment ministry's political leadership on Tuesday that business contracts must prevail over sector contracts and the Collective National Employment Contract to enable competitiveness to be boosted.
On the ministry's part, it was stressed that sector contracts are not to blame for the Greek economy's reduced competitiveness but the way with which negotiations were taking place until now, the legal environment, the high non-wage cost and bureaucratic obstacles.