FinMin on exchange of bonds; VAT rates

Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday said the process of exchanging Greek bonds possessed by private investors is at an advanced stage, and is expected to be completed in the first two weeks of October.
Venizelos pointed out that implementation of the decisions of the July 21 Eurozone summit will change developments to the benefit of the Greek economy, while referring to the country's commitments regarding structural changes, he said they will take place normally without political costs taken into consideration.
Meanwhile, following a meeting with productive and social partners focusing on the tax system, Venizelos said discussions over tax rates is barren "if we do not solve the issue of a VAT collection mechanism."
Referring to increased VAT rates for restaurants, eateries and cafes as lf Sept. 1 -- from 13 percent to 23 percent -- he clarified that it is valid, but special care will be taken for tourism businesses.
"The economy and society cannot tolerate more fragmented arrangements and ineffective measures. The weak market can no longer respond to either normal or extraordinary tax measures that are being imposed without any limit," the president of the National Confederation of Trade, Vassilis Korkidis, said after the meeting with Venizelos.
Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Constantine Mihalos added that the government "must proceed with the complete overhaul of the country's tax system and enact a simple, stable, fair and development-based tax system ... as well as lifting a series of investment counter-incentives."

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