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Alternate FinMin: Economy has regained 70pct of lost competitiveness

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There are some first positive indications resulting from the government of national responsibility that leave room for optimism for an exit from the crisis, alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras told a conference organized by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) in Athens on Monday, adding that the Greek economy has regained 70 percent of the competitiveness it had lost after its accession to the eurozone.

Staikouras noted a recent qualitative improvement in Greece's "credibility chapter" and a satisfactory execution of the budget despite the very large recession.

The alternate minister further noted positive developments such as the gradual return of deposits to Greece, the acceleration in the programme for exploitation of the state properties through a series of tenders that are fully underway, and in the efforts for the creation of strong banking organizations that are underway. He also stressed that the Greek economy has regained 70 percent of the competitiveness it had lose after its accession to the eurozone.

Staikouras spoke of the immense sacrifices made by the Greek people in the period 2010-2012, which have accumulatively reached 49 billion euros, or 22 percent of GDP, something unprecedented in any eurozone country.

The alternate minister also said that the situation with Greece's cash reserves was "marginal", adding that the pressure would increase until the disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan, noting that, conditionally, the tranche of 31.5 billion euros should be have been released in the second quarter of 2012, and there was immediate need for disbursement of the tranches.

On the tax evasion observed in recent years, Staikouras said it is an extensive phenomenon characterized by a peculiar resilience in Greece.

Greece is at a difficult crossroads, in an effort for changes to the state and the economy, Staikouras said, adding that the country needs "time and breathing space" in this effort.

SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY

Last Updated Tuesday, 16 October 2012
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