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Greece should keep its investors before it starts looking for foreign ones

16 October 2012 / 14:10:53  GRReporter
2068 reads

Victoria Mindova

Bureaucracy, a non-transparent tax system, lack of safety and security in the judiciary, lack of decisive measures to reduce corruption, freezing of market liberalization are the main problems that German industrialists see in Greece. Daniel Sal, who is responsible for the bilateral policy at the Federation of German Industries and who spoke at a business forum in Athens this week, pointed out these shortcomings.

"I am delighted and even impressed with how Greece has coped with the introduction of many difficult budget cuts," the German said approvingly but added that key structural reforms in the public administration have been dramatically delayed.

"It's important to talk about reforms, but it’s more important to put into practice the reforms we are discussing," the German expert said firmly. Sal said that in the past two years, hundreds of companies have left Greece because of the lack of liquidity and the decrease in consumption. He insists that the structural reforms should be accelerated in order to create a more welcoming business climate.

He stressed that the recovery programme for Greece was not just aimed at cutting costs. It aims to create a new more stable state with transparent procedures and efficient administration, offering quality services. The state must regain the faith of its citizens in the system and create a solid foundation for the development of a stable economy. "Trust and liability are the main factors business seeks," the German representative stressed.

If Greece wants to attract new investors, it must first find a way to keep its own business, according to Germany. Sal even urged Greek entrepreneurs to show a little more patriotism.

"In the last two years, many things have not gone well in the financial relations between Greece and Germany, and the media in the two countries have played a role in this development," Sal assessed, adding that despite the misunderstandings, the two countries are in close friendly relations and have the same goals. He said that Germany could offer its experience in the privatization processes. "We had to implement a massive privatization programme 20 years ago in which we made a lot of mistakes. Greece can learn from our experience, so as to avoid such mistakes today."

The German representative stressed that privatization cannot be successful if it is not backed by an efficient and transparent public administration. The Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, Yiannis Emiris, responded to his concern. He assured that the Fund established especially for the implementation of the privatization has all the prerequisites for a successful privatization with transparent procedures.

"The programme is extremely difficult and aims not only to repay part of the foreign debt, but also to improve competitiveness and to create new jobs," Emiris said. He cited data from the analysis of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research IOBE, according to which the investments expected from the triggering of privatization amount to 60 billion euro. The economic growth resulting from the programme will reach 1% of GDP per year for at least ten years and it will create 50,000 new jobs.

The Fund specializes in three main areas:land management, which includes over 70 state-owned properties that can be marketed; infrastructure, which consists of 35% of airports, railway, water and waste management; and last, but not least, it includes corporate assets in sectors such as gambling, banking, industry and energy. "We invite investors from over the world to see the opportunities in Greece and we are ready to help them in all possible ways to settle in the country for the long term," the Chief Executive Officer of the privatization fund concluded.

Tags: EconomyMarketsInvestmentsGermanyGreeceCrisisReforms
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