Greek State Phone Bill: 285M Euros

The Greek government is setting up an electronic system to monitor the phone calls of all workers and ministers, including the Prime Minister.

ATHENS – After discovering that Greek state workers, ministers and other employees are spending 285 million euros ($396.4 million) in phone calls, the government is setting up an electronic system to monitor their calls, including cell phones.

The Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Information Systems (GSIS) said it’s going to keep track of who’s calling who and how much it costs, right up to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ official residence and in all government offices.

As of May 1, GSIS will launch an electronic database of all landline and cellphone numbers being billed to the state.

The government budget sets aside 125 million euros for the phone calls of the central government – chiefly ministry offices – but it is believed that this target is exceeded by at least 10 million euros.

The extended network of local authority offices and other state bodies, which number more than 30,000, is believed to add another 150 million euros to the tab.

The government has directed all state bodies and services to begin creating a database of all the telephone numbers they use. According to a notice published in the Government Gazette last week, telecommunications companies will be asked to create corresponding databases recording the amount charged for each connection.

A government source told Kathimerini that authorities expect to get an initial overview of which parts of the state sector are overspending on telephone calls in the coming months.