Greece set to secure second tranche of EU-IMF aid: report

18:37, August 05, 2010      

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Greece is set to secure the second tranche of financial aid from the European Union(EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) this September, based on a positive progress report of auditors, local media reported on Thursday.

A group of experts from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF last met with Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday on the final details of a report they will submit to Brussels and Washington by September, the report said.

Citing Greek government sources, the local media said the report by the troika auditors will give the green light so that Athens will get 9 billion euros (11.8 billion U.S. dollars) on Sept. 13.

Greece, its European partners and the IMF agreed in May for a 110-billion-euro (145.2-billion-dollar) financial assistance package to the eurozone member country over a three-year period in exchange for austerity measures and reforms.

The auditors seemed to be content with the steps made so far in efforts to lift Greece out of a severe debt crisis, but cautious about low tax revenues and slow progress of structural reforms and recommend speedier steps forward this autumn.

The auditors called for greater efforts to fight widespread tax evasion and boost tax revenues, quicker liberalization of "closed" professions and markets and privatization of debt-ridden public companies that cost Greek tax payers too much.

The auditors' recommendations focused on the main flaws they had pinpointed, such as failure to fulfill the target for raising state revenues and reducing inflation. These undermined the competitiveness of Greek national economy, local media reported.

The experts also expressed concern on the high deficits of state hospitals, as well as state utility companies, that could derail efforts to slash the state deficit from the current 13.6 percent of GDP to 8.1 percent by 2011.

The auditors and the Greek government have taken the restructuring and sell-off of Greek Rail Organization as a first step and agreed to discuss in September the future of the Greek Electricity Company DEI, said the local media.

In any case, the Greek government has two months to work harder and show positive figures and facts to the auditors in the next inspection in October. Otherwise, Athens might receive less financial aid in December, Greek analysts warned.

Source: Xinhua


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