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Holding the ministerial post by Varoufakis was a nightmare for the Directorate General "Accounting"

07 September 2015 / 19:09:22  GRReporter
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The Directorate General "Accounting" bore the brunt of the turmoil in the Greek economy from February to the signing of the agreement with creditors and the imposed capital controls in the meantime.

Two of its heads, chief director for fiscal policy and budget Stavroula Miliakou and budget director Christos Giannakopoulos describe for the newspaper To Vima their experiences during the troubled period that started in February and ended with the signing of the agreement with creditors. They describe the unexpected revenue increase in August during the capital controls and reveal how "the day came when the state treasury had only 10 million euro and we had to pay salaries and pensions."

"Some ministers worked hard and left a ‘positive sign’ behind. Some did not even understand what the Directorate General "Accounting" was doing," they note.

"We were living in a nightmare all this time, in our own nightmare that was much worse than that for the rest of the Greeks, as we had to bear the burden of the state functioning with limited funds in the treasury. For the sake of security, the ready cash in the state treasury must be at least 1 billion euro (once we had 2-3 billion euro), and some day there were only tens of millions of euro, less than a company has," says Stavroula Miliakou who defines the period of the bank holiday as the most difficult.

"Not having previous experience, together with the Bank of Greece we set up a commission for approval of bank operations within just 12 hours, so as not to deprive the country of essential goods. These first three weeks were like hell on earth. The responsibility was enormous. We knew that every delay could have unforeseen consequences. I will never forget it. We all just broke down mentally when a father called to ask about the procedures to return to Greece the body of his dead child."

As for the attempts to pay salaries and pensions with the cash available to government institutions, Christos Giannakopoulos states,

"Imagine what would have happened if we had delayed the payment for even one day. I would like to mention our cooperation in this period with colleagues from the general directorates of financial services to the ministries. I would like to express concern over the behaviour of some (thankfully few) public institutions that stubbornly refused to transfer to the Bank of Greece their funds deposited at commercial banks to finance the requirements of the state, despite the fact that the profitability was significantly higher."

Asked about the notorious plan of former Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis to issue IOUs, the heads of the Directorate General "Accounting" replied that they were unaware of such a plan.

"The agencies of the Directorate General "Accounting" were not aware of, and therefore were not involved in, such a plan. However, it should be stressed to all who do not understand that the change of one currency also requires a change in laws, adjustment of procedures, information systems and much more. Let them remember that the transition from the drachma to the euro required two years of preparation," says Stavroula Miliakou.

Tags: Yanis VaroufakisMinister of FinanceGreek economyDirectorate General Accounting
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