Nikos Papathanasis “We support society and the economy with plan and prudence”

Deputy Minister of Development and Investment, Nikos Papathanasis, speaks to “axianews” about the government’s effort to stimulate the economy

At a time when states and governments are being tested globally and with the recent imposition of a strict lockdown in our country, key sectors of the economy are in the “vortex of the cyclone of the pandemic”. As noted by the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment, Mr. Nikos Papathanasis is expected soon to “start a loan program guaranteed by the Greek State”, in an effort to stimulate the Greek economy.

Interview with Dorilenia Liagouropoulou

– The interest of consumers and entrepreneurs is focused on retail and catering. What is your assessment of the time horizon for the release of these two critical branches?

– This issue is one of the top managed by the government from the first moment, when the consequences of the pandemic began to show their signs in the market. The goal, from the beginning, was clear and this continues to be served by the entire Greek government. Gradual and controlled opening of the market, strict observance of public health protection measures and continuous support of the economy and society within our fiscal limits with design and rules of sound management. We all notice that the situation is extremely dynamic and trying to make predictions is not only not creative, but on the contrary disorients and creates expectations that are likely to be refuted by the very course of epidemiological data. As you can see, the strategy for dealing with this situation is adapted according to the epidemiological map and the scientists are the ones who suggest the allowed mobility. What does not change, however, is the government’s intention to support all those affected until the end of the adventure.

The most prudent and effective attitude, then, is that applied by both the Greek and other European governments, which maintain forces to constantly adjust and help their economies to stand on their own two feet. In the context of this rapid, ongoing and effective support policy, the latest announcement of support measures for both the catering companies that were caught in the vortex of the pandemic and for all the professional industries that are facing problems is included.

– What measures has the government taken regarding liquidity injections to support businesses and secure jobs?

First of all, the retail companies but also the companies whose operation has been suspended by state order, such as the restaurants, the gyms, the companies of culture, sports and other branches, as well as the companies that are active in tourism and transport. , are entitled to a full rent exemption for March, while the owners of the relevant properties and who are natural persons are compensated from the state budget with 80% of the monthly agreed rent. In all other affected sectors, the provision for a reduced rent of 40% for the first three months of 2021 applies, as well as for the first residence of employees whose employment contract is suspended, as well as in the student residences of their children, which are financially dependent on themselves. At the same time, the reduced VAT on coffee products and non-alcoholic beverages, the NSRF program for radiators which has retroactive effect since the beginning of the pandemic and the suspension of payment of regulated insurance and tax contributions are additional strong measures to support catering businesses .

Soon a loan program of up to € 50,000 with a guarantee from the Greek State will start, which concerns very small businesses, while within February the 6th phase of the Repayable Advance will start, followed by the 7th. Based on these, the total liquidity injection to businesses, through the extremely successful Repayable Advocacy measure, is projected to reach € 3 billion in the first four months of the year and a total of € 8.5 billion since the beginning of the health crisis. All this proves that the government will not stop supporting businesses until the end of this adventure.

The main obstacle in the field of investment is the bureaucracy. What moves has the Ministry of Development and Investment made in order to bend such obstacles and to have investment interest for our country?

– Even under these circumstances, the government’s reform work continued normally. Dominant among the reforms are those that deal with bureaucracy and facilitate entrepreneurship by resolving chronic dysfunctions. Among other things, we are constantly simplifying business start-up procedures, accelerating the licensing of strategic investments. We have digitized many time-consuming processes in an extremely short period of time, resulting in almost zero bureaucracy. Characteristic of the fight against bureaucracy is the creation and operation of a special platform “One-Stop Electronic Service”. By using this, the citizen can start a business in just a few hours, without moving from his computer and, of course, for free.

Our reform initiatives related to general entrepreneurship also include the implementation and disbursement procedures of a grant in co-financed investment projects with tools such as the reduction of supporting documents for payments to companies from 10 to 5, the utilization of the data of the Information System “Instrument” to the staff employed in the beneficiary companies, the simplification and acceleration of the way and the time of resolving issues, through intensive cooperation between the involved bodies without the establishment and opinion of multiple collective bodies.

The need to boost green energy is becoming increasingly urgent. What is your plan for attracting this kind of investment? – The need to enhance green energy is imperative and not just because of the decisions taken at European Union level on climate change. The de-lignification, which practically means the closure of all lignite plants by 2028, is one of the big bets that Greece should win. In the context of the specific master plan for the Fair Development Transition of the lignite areas, the de-lignification not only continues but also accelerates with a plan and corresponding financing. The government has already announced and implemented 12 individual measures, among them the PPC – RWE agreement for the installation of photovoltaics in Western Macedonia, the construction of a photovoltaic park in Kozani by Juwi on behalf of ELPE. etc. In addition, PPC is changing technologies for the production of electricity from lignite to Renewable Energy Sources, while VW is converting four of its existing plants in Greece to produce electric cars, which, of course, will be charged by Renewable Energy Sources.

Source: Axianews by

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