Mea­sures to cut en­ergy costs fi­nally in pipe­line

Nat­u­ral gas rates to drop in or­der to keep in­dus­tries alive

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

The gov­ern­ment is­plan­ning mea­sures that will meet Greek en­ter­prises’ long­stand­ing de­mand for a re­duc­tion in in­dus­trial en­ergy costs, par­tic­u­larly nat­u­ral gas rates, ac­cord­ing to an­nounce­ments made by De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Costis Hatzi­dakis yes­ter­day.

The min­is­ter made no se­cret of his con­cern about the con­se­quences of high en­ergy costs on com­pet­i­tive­ness and the ex­port-ori­ented char­ac­ter of Greek man­u­fac­tur­ing: “I am wor­ried about the cost of en­ergy. I want us to be the min­istry for in­dus­try, with in­dus­tries,” he said.

The mea­sures will be taken by a new min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee whose func­tion was de­cided just be­fore Christ­mas. The com­mit­tee has not yet been formed, but the plan for it is ready. Hatzi­dakis at­trib­uted the de­lay in the in­tro­duc­tion of the mea­sures to a num­ber of other is­sues his min­istry is cur­rently deal­ing with, such as the pri­va­ti­za­tion of the Pub­lic Gas Cor­po­ra­tion (DEPA).

Other in­ter­ven­tions by the De­vel­op­ment Min­istry are set to be im­ple­mented sooner. The 2014 plans pre­sented yes­ter­day by Hatzi­dakis pro­vide for the lift­ing of reg­u­la­tions in the sup­ply of a se­ries of com­modi­ties, set to be an­nounced in the next few days. Hatzi­dakis said that the vast ma­jor­ity – about 80 per­cent – of rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) will be adopted.

In the com­ing weeks the min­istry will ta­ble a bill con­cern­ing the cre­ation of a new state en­tity for the ex­ports sec­tor, to be named En­ter­prise Greece and stemming from the merger of the Hel­lenic For­eign Trade Board with In­vest in Greece. The bill is still await­ing the sig­na­ture of For­eign Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los. Hatzi­dakis ex­plained that the deputy prime min­is­ter had been un­able to ink the bill yet due to his heavy travel sched­ule. The new leg­isla­tive frame­work about li­cens­ing in the man­u­fac­tur­ing and lo­gis­tics sec­tors will be com­pleted in the first quar­ter of this year, so that it can ap­ply from the third quar­ter.

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