Greek pri­vati­sa­tions will go ahead: out­go­ing econ­omy min­is­ter

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

A ma­jor sell-off of Greek public as­sets promised as part of its huge in­ter­na­tional bailout will go ahead as planned, the out­go­ing econ­omy min­is­ter said Wed­nes­day, de­spite loom­ing snap elec­tions.

"The agreed ar­range­ments have been agreed and will be ap­plied," Ge­orges Stathakis told re­porters in an­swer to a ques­tion on the planned pri­vati­sa­tion of Pi­raeus port, the na­tional rail­way com­pany and a string of other ports and air­ports.

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras re­signed last week af­ter his ac­cep­tance of an 86 bil­lion euro ($96 bil­lion) res­cue pack­age for Greece s stricken econ­omy trig­gered a ma­jor re­bel­lion within his rad­i­cal left Syriza party. Elec­tions are now likely to be held on Septem­ber 20, just eight months af­ter Syriza stormed to power on a wave of pop­u­lar anger over tough aus­ter­ity mea­sures de­manded by Greece s cred­i­tors in ex­change for two pre­vi­ous bailouts.

Greece pledged to take on a ma­jor pri­vati­sa­tion pro­gramme as part of the latest bailout, which also saw Tsipras agree­ing to tax rises, spend­ing cuts and sweep­ing eco­nomic re­forms in ex­change for the much-needed cash, in­cens­ing the Syriza rebels, who have now formed their own party. The pri­vati­sa­tions are ex­pected to raise some 50 bil­lion eu­ros by the end of 2017, half of which would be used to re­cap­i­talise Greek banks, whose cash re­serves have been drained of bil­lions of eu­ros by anx­ious cus­tomers.

Upon com­ing to power, the Syriza gov­ern­ment froze sev­eral pri­vati­sa­tion projects that are now be­ing re­launched, in­clud­ing the con­ces­sion of more than a dozen key re­gional air­ports to Ger­many s Fra­port-Slen­tel con­sor­tium in a deal worth 1.23 bil- lion eu­ros. Greece s elec­tion date is to be of­fi­cially an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Prokopis Pavlopou­los by the end of the week. Cap­i­tal con­trols were im­posed in early July in a bid to save Greece s fi­nan­cial sys­tem from col­lapse, but Stathakis said he ex­pected these to be lifted "very soon". Re­stric­tions on the amount peo­ple can with­draw from cash ma­chines will be re­laxed "if banks liq­uid­ity con­tin­ues to im­prove", he added.

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