Spend­ing cuts for ap­pear­ances

For a sec­ond year the ‘so­cial div­i­dend’ will be funded at the cost of the Pub­lic In­vest­ments Pro­gram

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

State in­vest­ments are be­ing sac­ri­ficed on the al­tar of the gov­ern­ment’s so­cial pro­file: While the gov­ern­ment is dis­tribut­ing 1.4 bil­lion eu­ros, the Pub­lic In­vest­ments Pro­gram (PIP) has frozen, ac­cord­ing to the bud­get fig­ures is­sued yes­ter­day by the Fi­nance Min­istry for the Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber pe­riod.

The flash es­ti­mates pub­lished by the State Gen­eral Ac­count­ing Of­fice showed that PIP ex­pen­di­ture was re­duced by 1.087 bil­lion eu­ros in the year to end-Oc­to­ber, as in­stead of sched­uled in­vest­ments of 3.06 bil­lion, the state only spent 1.97 bil­lion eu­ros.

The draft bud­get states that the tar­get of 6.75 bil­lion eu­ros will be met by the end of the year, but the min­istry had said the same thing last year when the PIP was aban­doned so that a “so­cial div­i­dend” worth 615 mil­lion eu­ros could be paid out. Last year’s PIP was re­duced by 460 mil­lion (i.e. three-quar­ters of the so­cial div­i­dend).

The gen­eral trend of con­tain­ing ex­pen­di­ture re­sulted in the pri­mary bud­get sur­plus amount­ing to 5.355 bil­lion eu­ros in Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber, against a tar­get of 5.239 bil­lion.

Net rev­enues came to 40.6 bil­lion eu­ros, miss­ing their tar­get by 2.84 bil­lion or 6.5 per­cent. The min­istry says that the short­fall is due to in­creased re­bates, which were up 1.96 bil­lion eu­ros on pro­jec­tions, and to the be­lated start of Sin­gle Prop­erty Tax (ENFIA) pay­ments in Septem­ber in­stead of Au­gust. Be­sides those two rea­sons cited, though, the short­fall came about mainly be­cause of tax­pay­ers’ in­abil­ity to meet their obli­ga­tions: Last month alone 410,000 tax­pay­ers were added to the list of state debtors.

State bud­get ex­pen­di­ture for the Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber pe­riod amounted to 40.43 bil­lion eu­ros, 2.94 bil­lion eu­ros be­low the tar­get. In Oc­to­ber bud­get 720.18 1.1745 spend­ing amounted to 4.07 bil­lion eu­ros, which was 622 mil­lion eu­ros less than fore­cast. This year the state has spent 101 mil­lion eu­ros less than planned on hos­pi­tals, 157 mil­lion less on the sol­i­dar­ity so­cial in­come and 73 mil­lion eu­ros less on main res­i­dence pro­tec­tion, among other cuts.

The draft bill out­lin­ing the hand­outs for low-in­come Greeks was sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day with the aim of it be­ing ap­proved by Thurs­day.

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