10 October, 2005
Abolition or unification of public sector organizations with transfers of employees to other civil services, privatizations in the banking sector, and gradual incorporation of benefits into salaries are his ministry's main priorities for 2006, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of Apogevmatini newspaper.
Alogoskoufis clarified that the process of abolishing 100 public sector organizations would commence in 2006, and would take two years. He stressed that the employees of the abolished organizations would not be dismissed, but transferred to other organizations.
Regarding the privatizations program, he said it concerned the Postal Savings Bank, which would be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, the Agricultural Bank (ATE bank), and the Commercial Bank (Emporiki Bank).
As for the gradual incorporation of benefits into the salaries of public sector employees, the minister said that it would be a long process because it entailed an immense fiscal cost. As an example, he cited the divergence of salaries that reached up to 100 percent between ministry employees of equal credentials, in which "the equalization can only be upwards".
Turning to the deficits, Alogoskoufis pointed out that "we cannot make the deficits disappear at once". He reiterated that all means at the ministry's disposal would be used to reduce the deficits and not excessively burden the people, explaining that the aim was to not have adverse repercussions, chiefly for the economically weaker brackets, and reminding that "the entire reduction of the deficit achieved this year was effected mainly through the containment of state expenditures".
In order to tackle the problems of the State and the wasteful spending "in a structural way", much more than four years would be necessary so that immense problems in society and services to the citizen, as well as in the economy, would not be created.
Referring to his recent visit to the US, Alogoskoufis opined that the climate for investments in Greece was good, and noted that the wider region would in the coming years be one of the most rapidly developing regions of the wider European area and Greece, given a series of advantages it had, could comprise the gateway and the centre of development for the region.
The minister further stressed that the government was trying not to disregard those who had the greatest need, within the framework of the budget's abilities.
Source: Athens News Agency