Privatization of Greek state companies may help overcome crisis: business leader

08:25, April 13, 2010      

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Privatization of Greek state-controlled companies could help overcome the serious economic crisis in the country, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) President Konstantinos Michalos said on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Michalos said the mismanagement, waste of funds, lack of strategic planning and bureaucracy of state companies "add huge financial burdens to tax payers."

Suggesting a drastic and urgent re-evaluation of their role and the Greek state's investment policy, the ACCI head proposed privatization and closure of some of the public-controlled companies.

"The current situation in state-controlled companies cannot continue. We can't ask sacrifices from low income employees, pensioners and small enterprises and let the waste of funds go on," Michalos said.

The Greek government will discuss the privatization program for the next three years during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

According to initial estimation, Greece would get 2.5 billion euros (3.346 billion U.S. dollars) from privatization in 2010, but the Finance Ministry has recently lowered the sum expected to be raised.

The first in the line is reportedly going to be the Organization of Railway Services, while Post Bank, the National Lottery company, the Public Company of Electricity, the Water Supply Company and the Greek Organization of Telecommunications could follow.

Commenting on the latest developments on the EU-IMF support mechanism for Greece, Michalos praised the Greek government's efforts that led to such a success.

"The safety net is a short term solution though. We cannot be the beggars in Europe forever," Michalos said, noting that international ratings agencies such as Moody's and Fitch have placed bets on the bankruptcy of Greece.

"We must prove them wrong. We must move immediately onto structural reforms, development and a completely new economic model," the ACCI head said.



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