Fi­nal bud­get draft set for to­day, with an in­creased sur­plus tar­get

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

The Fi­nance Min­istry is to­day to present Par­lia­ment with the fi­nal draft of the 2017 bud­get, which pro­vides for a pri­mary sur­plus above that of the first draft due to the con­tin­ued over­per­for­mance of state rev­enues.

The min­istry has been in con­stant con­tact with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the coun­try’s cred­i­tors over the past few days, tweak­ing the fi­nal fig­ures of the bud­get, with the Greek side be­ing op­ti­mistic that the cred­i­tors will ac­cept the rev­enue data and their pos­i­tive im­pact on next year’s fis­cal fig­ures. In any case and re­gard­less of the course of those ne­go­ti­a­tions, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos has to ta­ble the fi­nal bud­get draft to­day.

Sources say that the min­istry has sub­mit­ted to cred­i­tors spe­cific data on which part of the over­per­form­ing rev­enues can be re­lied upon. Based on these fig­ures, it es­ti­mates that the pri­mary bud­get sur­plus for 2017 could top 1.8 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, as the bud­get’s first draft pre­dicted.

Be­fore that first draft was tabled, the min­istry had pro­cessed a sce­nario that took the 2017 pri­mary sur­plus up to 2 per- cent of GDP. How­ever, the gov­ern­ment later de­cided to in­clude ad­di­tional ex­pen­di­ture of 300 mil­lion eu­ros in the bud­get, des­tined for so­cial poli­cies, thereby re­duc­ing the tar­get to 1.8 per­cent. The bailout agree­ment’s tar­get is for a 1.75 per­cent pri­mary sur­plus.

Since then the min­istry has seen tax rev­enues beat­ing their tar­gets for Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, lead­ing of­fi­cials to be­lieve that there will be a cush­ion for the 2017 bud­get.

Nev­er­the­less, sources say that the cred­i­tors’ en­voys are scru­ti­niz­ing the data on the in­creased rev­enue to es­tab­lish which part of that is also trans­ferred to 2017.

Be­sides that, the gov­ern­ment and the cred­i­tors have a dif­fi­cult dis­cus­sion ahead about the midterm fis­cal plan. For the plan to be fi­nal­ized the two sides will have to agree on how the Sol­i­dar­ity So­cial In­come will be fi­nanced next year, and mainly in 2018.

The min­istry ad­mits there is a gap in that new al­lowance’s fi­nanc­ing and is propos­ing cov­er­ing it through cuts to the de­fense bud­get and through sav­ings from the spend­ing re­view of the en­tire pub­lic sec­tor. The cred­i­tors, how­ever, in­sist on re­duc­ing so­cial ben­e­fits and tax breaks.

The Fi­nance Min­istry is to­day ex­pected to sub­mit the fi­nal draft of the 2017 state bud­get to Par­lia­ment.

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