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Greece’s wastefulness revealed by George Provopoulos

27 October 2010 / 14:10:22  GRReporter
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World markets and international investors tumultuously welcomed the Governor of the Bank of Greece for his report on the financial situation of the country during the first nine months of 2010. Recently, financial experts have increasingly expressed either openly, or diplomatically the opinion that Greece does not avail at present experienced technocrats to take it out of the crisis with their knowledge. There are no skilled professionals to do what needs to be done in their specific field to drive the troubled economy upwards. And now George Provopoulos denied them and became the first state banker to dissect the wastefulness of the Greek state mechanism as accurately and mercilessly as a surgeon.

Intentionally or not, the Governor of the Bank of Greece tackles first to the most powerful Greek propaganda mechanism - mastodon state television with its five channels, numerous very well paid employees, civil servants and expensive productions that are being viewed substantially less than the private television programmes. Athens channels ET1 and NET, ET3 in Thessaloniki, the parliamentary channel and the digital Prism to merge into one or two channels at the most and to gain 70 percent of their budgets from commercials. George Provopoulos also proposes the fee to the state media the people pay in electricity bills to be cancelled and the amount of the fee to be provided to the state budget to reduce its deficit.

The Governor of the Bank of Greece proposes to immediately proceed with the closure and merger of legal entities representing government institutions as currently they are 5000. According to the report on the financial situation of Greece, most of these organizations ‘split’ functions of various ministries, they are not effective, duplicate obligations, there is no control on their staff appointments and the state budget pays for all this.

George Provopoulos calls for serious cuts in education. He proposes consolidation of technical schools and abolition of state subsidies for students’ movement from remote villages and islands to their schools as according to him they have gone too far. He stresses that the Greek state provided € 280 million only in 2010 for this purpose – as if we are subsidizing tourist buses, concludes the senior banker in the country. He proposes additionally to seize the activity of the General Secretariat for Youth for five years until the country gets out of the crisis. "It is not appropriate the General Secretariat to spend state money to hire a dozen yachts to enable young people sail in the Saronic Gulf in the summer of 2009 at a time when people’s pensions are being cut and when the budget deficit flew to the sky," says George Provopoulos.

Not only young but also older Greeks waste public money, the banker explained. He proposes to cancel some of the functions of the centers caring for elderly people that are being funded by the state, for suspend free vacations and free trips abroad. The Governor of the Bank of Greece urges drastic reduction of civil servants currently being 770 000, memorandum on appointments as well as to abolish the practice of appointing civil servants employees that have been working in lawmakers’ offices for 2 years and civil servants working in the offices of politicians.

In conclusion, he stresses that the dispute on should Greece signed the agreement with the IMF or not must be put to an end and a clear look is needed to what the stability program would bring Greece in the medium term. There is no doubt according to George Provopoulos that if implemented accurately it will turn Greece with its values and share in the activities of the European Union into an active rather than a peripheral member of the Eurozone, the mistakes of the past will not burden the Greek economy and it will work properly, privileges and exemptions will be eliminated as they not only reduce the gross domestic product but also lead to serious public imbalances, high growth rate will be achieved which will lead to increasing people's incomes and reducing unemployment.

But all this would happen if, as the first banker in Greece sees it, the country meets the requirements of the stability program. According to him, however, there is a risk of failure mostly because of the larger than expected budget deficit for 2009 and its implications for the 2010 deficit. Therefore, he suggests adhering closely to reforms and financial constraints required by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission while developing at the same time a national roadmap for economic development. "Only in this way global markets will believe that the Greek economy is reforming dynamically," said George Provopoulos and warned that the road to financial stability will be long and painful.

Tags: Bank of GreeceGeorge ProvopoulosEconomic crisisWastefulnessState spending
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