Cap­i­tal con­trols are eased but com­pa­nies see it as in­suf­fi­cient

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

The gov­ern­ment has pro­ceeded to a fur­ther re­lax­ation of cap­i­tal con­trols re­gard­ing the in­ter­na­tional trans­ac­tions of en­ter­prises, as com­pa­nies and mar­ket en­ti­ties warn about the im­pact of re­stric­tions on the coun­try’s pro­duc­tion struc­ture.

With a new leg­isla­tive act the gov­ern­ment has ex­panded the daily limit of money that can be for­warded abroad per client from 100,000 eu­ros to 150,000 eu­ros, the cu­mu­la­tive limit per sys­temic bank from 3.4 mil­lion eu­ros per day to 5 mil­lion (with a pro­por­tion­ate ad­just­ment for smaller lenders) and the daily limit that banks com­mit­tees can ap­prove from 15 mil­lion eu­ros to 22 mil­lion.

The new act also pro­vides for the spe­cial Bank­ing Trans­ac­tions Ap­proval Com­mit­tee at the State Gen­eral Ac­count­ing Of­fice to grant some flex­i­bil­ity to bank com­mit­tees so that they can cre­ate re­gional sub-com­mit­tees ac­cord­ing to their ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­per­sion and bet­ter serve the de­mands of their clients.

Mar­ket as­so­ci­a­tions, how­ever, warn that steps to ease cap­i­tal con­trols are only on pa­per, adding that the in­crease in the lim­its is not suf­fi­cient to cover the needs of the cor­po­ra­tions and the econ­omy.

The Greek In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (SEVE) noted in a let­ter sent to Al­ter­nate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dim­itris Mar­das that “the eas­ing of cap­i­tal con­trols, though gen­er­at­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in the busi­ness com­mu­nity, are not put into prac­tice, cre­at­ing in­dig­na­tion among pro­duc­ing and ex­port­ing en­ter­prises. For in­stance, banks de­lay in­def­i­nitely the ap­proval even of the early end­ing of time de­posits of cor­po­ra­tions as pro­vided by the le­gal frame­work.”

The SEVE let­ter adds that de­spite a size­able re­duc­tion in im­ports in re­cent years, the coun- try’s av­er­age monthly needs re­gard­ing im­ported goods in the last year-and-a-half has come to 3.9 bil­lion eu­ros. July, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber are tra­di­tion­ally the months with the greater needs, reach­ing up to 4.5 bil­lion eu­ros. Re­ports say that the daily amount banks have at their dis­posal for in­ter­na­tional money trans­fers comes to just 17 mil­lion eu­ros in to­tal. If that is cor­rect, then it is not enough to cover even 10 per­cent of the to­tal value of im­ported goods. Even if that changes in the com­ing days, the deficit com­pared to the real needs of the econ­omy will be huge.

The new leg­isla­tive act pro­vides for some flex­i­bil­ity to the banks’ com­mit­tees to cre­ate re­gional sub-com­mit­tees ac­cord­ing to their ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­per­sion, to serve bet­ter the de­mands of their clients.

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