Debtors snap up of­fer for eas­ier set­tle­ments

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU & ROULA SALOUROU

The gov­ern­ment’s plan for the set­tle­ment debts to the state is pay­ing off as Greeks are sign­ing up in num­bers for the more fa­vor­able pay­ment scheme.

In less than 24 hours since the open­ing of the on­line reg­is­ter for the sub­mis­sion of ap­pli­ca­tions, about 10,000 debtors ap­plied for en­try to a pay­ment scheme al­low­ing up to 100 in­stall­ments and re­cently voted by Par­lia­ment. The plan pro­vides a smaller in­ter­est rate (4.56 per­cent), a min­i­mum tranche of 50 euros and the write-off of penal­ties and fines.

Fi­nance Min­istry em­ploy­ees were re­port­edly sur­prised by the re­sponse of debtors, though it was clear from the Oc­to­ber fig­ures re­leased yes­ter­day that thou­sands had for­feited the pay­ment of their dues in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the new scheme. Ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures, ex­pired debts grew by 1.22 bil­lion euros last month to a to­tal of 71.5 bil­lion.

Fur­ther­more, so­cial se­cu­rity funds have col­lected some 10 mil­lion euros in the first 10 days of the new sys­tem for debt set­tle­ment, as by last Fri­day 8,579 ap­pli­ca­tions were ap­proved con­cern­ing debts of 229.9 mil­lion euros in to­tal.

Th­ese de­vel­op­ments may strengthen the Greek side in ne­go­ti­a­tions with its cred­i­tors re­gard­ing the size (if any) of the 2015 fis­cal gap, as the monthly in­flow of re­pay­ments by debtors will boost cof­fers.

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