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Aggressive privatization and radical reformsm sought the President of the Athens Stock Exchange

04 May 2010 / 09:05:11  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

Privatization, opening of closed professions and reforms in tax and social security systems are just some of the changes that Greece should do during the restoration of its positive image to the international markets. Along other problems, Greece should turn to new technologies in the 21st century in order to regain competitiveness and positive economic rate of the country. This was the opinion of Spyros Kapralos President of the Athens Stock Exchange, who spoke at the economic forum "Digital economy forum: evolution is digital," associated with developing and implementing new technologies in public administration and services. The financier stressed that the government has the heavy task to resort to the closure of loss-making enterprises, mass privatization of others, and drastic reduction of state administration, in order to enable Greece to emerge from the financial quagmire in which it is now. He did not fail to note that the crisis will inevitably affect the poor in society circles. Furthermore, except for deficit and external debt, Greece should take care of saving its image to the world. 

"Greek statistics" is the exemplary name which we won in the corridors in Brussels because of the unrealistic data submission from the local economy to the European Statistics Institute. Later it spread to international markets," he said. Spyros Kapralos said that immediate action is required to combat corruption and tax evasion. Needed is the introduction of new conditions in the management and operation of the country to attract fresh investments. 

Kapralos underlined that international investors who buy the foreign debt of a country accept it as an enterprise. "International markets do not consist only of speculators. Nor do they consist only of foreign financiers who want to see Greece bankrupt…they consist also of investors," said President of the Athens Exchange. He stressed that these investors will enter the domestic market only if they can be convinced of the presented strategic agenda. If this program does not seem convincing, they will sell their investments to get rid of risk. Once markets see that Greece has made all the necessary changes to rescue the local economy, they will be willing to invest in the country again. On the other hand Kapralos stressed that Greece has lost its manufacturing force in the last 30 years. Increasing labor costs, heavy administrative machinery, the decline in quality and permanent union struggles are part of the problems that have helped the gradual death of Greek production. 

Spyros Kapralos said that stock markets are one of the levers of economic development. He gave an example with companies listed in the Athens Stock Exchange, which in the past five years have brought the country almost €25 billion capital. He recalled that during the past 15 years a number of privatizations of various state enterprises have been made, which have brought billions of Euros into the state Treasury. 

Christos Steykouris, representative of New Democracy, made sharp criticism to the government by saying that if this crisis requires the most serious socio-economic program implemented within the eurozone, then the government has acted in the dark over the past six months. According to him this government has failed because the final decision to activate the bilateral financial mechanism completely contradicts the expectations from the implementation of the Program for Stability and Development. Christos Steykouris is certain that the severe economic measures will lead to even more severe recession in the coming months and years. He noted that the banking sector began to show the first signs of “disease” after the expansion of the state credit crisis. This inevitably reflected on crediting small and medium businesses and directly affected the market liquidity. "The state cannot act with bankrupt enterprises and unemployed citizens," said the right-wing MP. Therefore Steykouris urged the Government to take immediate measures to develop additional measures that will promote positive growth. The representative of right-wing party also stressed that the program of financial assistance to households and small enterprises is also liable for foster unfair payers, which can also pose a threat to the banking sector. 

Finance Minister George Papankonstantinou talked about the importance of the decision to activate the rescue financial mechanism and its role in the structure of the European Union. The Minister stressed that without the introduction of new technologies in the public administration system, the government cannot carry out the planned reforms. Tax and social insurance systems should be completely renovated with the help of digital technology so that they can operate effectively. Along with human resources, upgrading the system will enable to achieve maximum results in the field of services and control, exercised by these institutions. 

Forum "Digital economy forum: evolution is digital " is organized by the Union of ICT (information and communication technologies) companies in Greece. The organization has over 400 member firms, with 95% market share in this sector, which provide a total of about 100,000 jobs. Companies that provide communications and information services have an annual turnover of nearly 4% of GDP. The main theme of the conference is the importance of digital technologies in the economic development and competitiveness of the country.

Tags: Greece crisis economy Athens Stock Exchange forum new technologies
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