Pen­sion fund rev­enues crum­ble

State debts on course to dou­ble this year as pay­ment halt takes ar­rears to third par­ties to 5.9 bln in Au­gust

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

So­cial se­cu­rity funds are in a dire sit­u­a­tion as their rev­enues have de­clined by 2.5 bil­lion eu­ros within just one year, while show­ing a pri­mary deficit of 598 mil­lion eu­ros in the year to end-Au­gust against a pri­mary sur­plus of 206 mil­lion a year ear­lier. At the same time, the state’s ex­pired debts to third par­ties grew to 5.9 bil­lion eu­ros in Au­gust, from 3.7 bil­lion at the start of the year.

Ac­cord­ing to the data supplied by the Fi­nance Min­istry, the gen­eral gov­ern­ment bud­get posted a pri­mary sur­plus of 2.6 bil­lion eu­ros in the Jan­uary-Au­gust pe­riod, against a pri­mary sur­plus of 2.4 bil­lion a year ear­lier. How­ever, this re­sult is purely the re­sult of the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to halt pay­ments in a bid to con­tain its deficits, while the course of the var­i­ous gen­eral gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties has been neg­a­tive.

The re­duc­tion in the pen­sion funds’ rev­enues by 2.5 bil­lion eu­ros year-on-year is mainly due to the 640-mil­lion-euro drop in so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions, as well as the 1.5-bil­lion-euro de­crease in sup­port from the state bud­get. The funds were forced to cur­tail their ex­pen­di­ture con­sid­er­ably, hand­ing out 1.6 bil­lion eu­ros less, of which 707 mil­lion eu­ros con­cerned cuts to so­cial ben­e­fits.

Lo­cal author­i­ties saw their ro­bust pri­mary sur­plus of 282 mil­lion eu­ros in the first eight months of last year shrink to just 74 mil­lion this year. Like­wise, state cor­po­ra­tions recorded a sur­plus of 537 mil­lion eu­ros this year against 1 bil­lion eu­ros in 2014.

The im­pact of the gov­ern­ment’s pay­ment halt is such that it is on course to dou­ble the state’s ex­pired debts to third par­ties within just one year. Within eight months they have grown by 2.2 bil­lion eu­ros to reach 5.9 bil­lion, and in early Octo-

1.1374 ber they are es­ti­mated to have climbed to 7 bil­lion – from 3.7 bil­lion in early Jan­uary.

Al­ter­nate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Hou­liarakis stated yesterday that if the re­quired prior ac­tions are voted by Par­lia­ment and the re­view of the bailout pro­gram is suc­cess­fully com­pleted for the planned tranches to be dis­bursed, the state will this year pay off debts of 3.1 bil­lion eu­ros and another 3.9 bil­lion eu­ros in 2016.

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