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Economy

Staikouras: Extra Fiscal Space to Support Households, Businesses

ATHENS – As things currently stand, the fiscal space available in 2022 has been fully exhausted, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in statements on SKAI television on Friday. He noted, however, that as the execution of the budget progressed and tourism got underway, “the government finds fiscal space and supports households and businesses at the appropriate time.”

“I have the feeling that the fiscal space will be found but there must, at the same time, an extension of lower VAT in food services and transport until the end of the year and the abolition of the solidarity levy in 2023 for all workers and pensioners,” he said.

He said a discussion on possible fuel subsidies in July was “very premature” while outlining the support measures for electricity that will run up until June, adding that from July for the space of one year, up to 70-80 pct of the extra cost will be covered and subsidies will continue so that electricity bills are low.

Staikouras said this programme will cost 2.2 billion euros in total, of which 900 million euros are from the budget, adding that Greece has spent double the amount of resources than the EU average to support households and businesses based on figures on May 6.

He said the current forecast, as things stand at present, is for a primary deficit of 2 pct of GDP, while the ministry expects a 3 pct of GDP increase in growth. This was a more conservative estimate than that of the EU, IMF and Bank of Greece, which have forecast growth rates ranging from 3.5-2.8 pct of GDP, he added.

The minister concluded by saying that Greece was moving closer to the goal of acquiring investment grade in 2023, adding that the last step in this process will be the end of enhanced surveillance in August 2022.

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