Gov’t to launch spend­ing re­view

Fi­nance Min­istry aims to see pub­lic ex­penses cut by 10 pct to fund so­cial in­ter­ven­tions from 2018

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

The Fi­nance Min­istry is launch­ing a spend­ing re­view across the coun­try’s min­istries and the en­ti­ties they su­per­vise, with the aim of cut­ting ex­pen­di­tures and help­ing the fund­ing of so­cial ini­tia­tives, par­tic­u­larly so-called the So­cial In­come for Sol­i­dar­ity.

A min­is­te­rial de­ci­sion is ex­pected in the next few days for a co­or­di­nat­ing com­mit­tee that will su- per­vise the re­view project. Sources say min­istries will also be asked to lo­cated ar­eas of their bud­gets where ex­penses can be cut by as much as 10 per­cent.

The aim of the project is to give the gov­ern­ment a large enough cush­ion to fund so­cial ini­tia­tives it has de­cided. Although there is no spe­cific fis­cal tar­get for now, the Fi­nance Min­istry be­lieves there is scope for spend­ing cuts with­out af­fect­ing the qual­ity of the ser­vices of­fered by the state.

The ben­e­fits will be re­flected in the 2018 bud­get, as the project is ex­pected to be com­pleted in two phases by June 2017. There­fore, any fis­cal ben­e­fit to stem ex­penses will not be in­cor­po­rated in the midterm fis­cal plan the gov­ern­ment is likely to sub­mit to Par­lia­ment in Septem­ber.

Al­ter­nate Min­is­ter Gior­gos Chou­liarakis ex­plained in Par­lia­ment dur­ing the week that through this ini­tia­tive the gov­ern­ment wishes to “im­ple­ment the combi- na­tion of fis­cal dis­ci­pline with so­cial jus­tice.” The So­cial In­come for Sol­i­dar­ity pro­vides for the dis­tri­bu­tion of 900 mil­lion eu­ros to be dis­trib­uted.

Sources say the min­istries and the other en­ti­ties across the pub­lic sec­tor will be asked in the spend­ing re­view process to an­swer the ques­tion “what can you do to spare a part of your ex­penses?” A pi­lot pro­gram will be­gin this year with three min­istries, be­fore ex­tend­ing to all min­istries in the fol­low­ing 571.57 1.1014 months. The spend­ing re­view will have to be com­pleted by June 2017 so that the data can be in­cor­po­rated in the bud­get of 2018.

In the mean­time, Stan­dard & Poor’s yes­ter­day con­firmed Greece’s sov­er­eign rat­ing at ‘B-‘ with a sta­ble out­look. The rat­ings agency also fore­cast that the coun­try’s debt will peak at 179 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct at the end of this year, be­fore de­clin­ing to 173 per­cent by 2018 if the bailout pro­gram is ad­hered to.

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