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Greek central bank governor suggests more privatization to support recovery
From:Xinhua  |  2017-10-04 00:40

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By Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Central Bank of Greece Governor,Yannis Stournaras, suggested privatizations amounting to 12 billioneuros (14.1 billion US dollars) from 2018 until 2023 to support therecovery of the economy, Greek newspaper Kathimerini (Daily)reported on Tuesday.

The proposal was made during an event organized by theAthens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE)on Monday evening on the occasion of the publication of a bookentitled "Beyond Austerity: Reforming the Greek Economy".

According to Stournaras, focus on the privatization programwhich has so far not met the goals and timetables set in 2010 couldhelp Athens in its argument to persuade international lenders toagree in allowing some more breathing space to the economy tosupport growth.

The amount raised by privatizations could cover the sum ofreducing the primary budget surplus target from 3.5 percent of GDPto 2 percent until 2022, Stournaras noted.

According to the 2018 draft budget tabled to the Greekparliament on Monday, the Greek economy was projected to grow by2.4 percent next year, up from 1.8 percent for this year. Theprimary surplus was estimated to stand at 3.5 percent of GDP, upfrom 2.2 percent forecast for this year.

Leading Greek economists who debated during Monday's event onthe causes of the Greek debt crisis and the growth prospects of theGreek economy expressed doubts whether the policies could lead tosustainable development.

Cypriot Nobel laureate Christopher Pissarides, one of the book'seditors, noted that Cyprus managed to exit its bailout program soonthanks to the 2013 "haircut" on deposits, while Greek governmentsstruggled for several years to close fiscal gaps by increasingtaxation.

Today the Greek state finances have been balanced, "but in a waythat does not permit medium-term growth", Nikos Vettas, IOBEdirector and one of the editors of the book said, referring also toflaws of the Greek tax system.

"What Greece needs is to build an extrovert economy. The stateshould support entrepreneurism," Costas Meghir, Professor at Yaleuniversity underlined. Enditem