Roundup: Greek PM pledges "growth for all", outlining program with tax cuts, reforms

Sunday, 2019-09-08 10:12:16
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the opening ceremony at the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in Thessaloniki, Greece, on September 7, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on September 7 pledged "growth for all", outlining his government's economic policy for the next 12 months, which includes tax cuts and reforms to support development in the post-bailout era.

"Currently we not only have a vision, but also the plan for a better Greece," he said, addressing the opening ceremony at the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Greece's largest annual trade fair held in the northern port city.

It has been customary for the Greek prime minister to set out the central economic program during the fair's inauguration.

A year after Greece exited its third bailout program since 2010 and two months after winning the general elections, the conservative leader reiterated his government's commitment to prudent fiscal policy and a series of bold reforms to strengthen the country's credibility so it can claim "the right time with positive results as a weapon, and more realistic annual primary budget surpluses."

Under bailout commitments, Greece must have a post-primary budget surplus of at least 3.5 percent of GDP per year until 2022. The new administration seeks to reduce the target to allow more room to spur growth.

The new premier presented on September 7 a strategy to boost growth which is based on four main pillars, as he explained, during the speech broadcast on national broadcaster ERT.

Starting with tax policy, he outlined a series of planned tax cuts for individuals and businesses, such as tax rate of 9 percent instead of 22 percent currently for annual incomes of up to EUR10,000 (US$11,000) and reduction of corporate tax rate to 24 percent from 28 percent and a dividend tax to 5 percent from 10 percent to support entrepreneurship.

Already the new government has reduced real property taxes and abolished the capital controls after four years, he stressed.
In the second pillar of investments, he pledged immediate measures to unblock flagship projects and attract more, by accelerating privatization to produce new wealth to share fairly among the Greek people.

Referring to China's COSCO Shipping's investment at Piraeus port, the Greek premier said a master plan submitted by the investors a few days ago will be examined and the Ministry of Shipping will have a response until next month.

The plan budgeted at more than EUR800 million foresees the expansion of sea cruise piers, new infrastructure and construction of hotels and will create several thousands of new job positions, he noted.

Referring to the third pillar of labor issues, Mitsotakis pledged policies to better protect employees, support full employment and create well-paid jobs.

As for the fourth pillar of the shift to a digital state that makes people's daily lives easier and simpler, he promised policies to cut through red tape.

"With unity, we can bring our country back to the path of progress," Mitsotakis said closing his speech, pledging also policies to strengthen social cohesion, support families and pensioners.

With more than 1,600 exhibitors taking part, up from 1,494 in 2018, and India as the honored country, this year's TIF, which runs to September 15, is expected to attract about 300,000 visitors.

Xinhua