ND president Antonis Samaras today announced from Zappeion the governmental economic program, with promises to alleviate the social strata most affected by the crisis...ND president Antonis Samaras today announced from Zappeion the governmental economic program, with promises to alleviate the social strata most affected by the crisis. He reiterated that his goal is "a clear mandate to provide political stability and be able to change Greece" and said "no to cuts to the 13th and 14th salaries, no more tax increases, no more horizontal cuts in pensions."
Starting his speech, he said that "everything must change to save our democracy. And by everything I mean everything, including the production model and the system of government."
He launched an attack against PASOK and the parties of the Left and the Center-right.
"So far we have been spending borrowed money and charging our children, producing less and less and consuming more and more. This must change. Our democracy is in trouble, the rights of many are violated by the privileges of the few, partisan armies are fighting against the private sector, trade unions are crushing those who try to live by the market. Greece has wealth, natural wealth, and if we take advantage of it in the international markets along with the genius of the Greeks, then will have growth," he said.
He pledged that in the first six weeks he will proceed with four major bills; the first for social transfers, the second on taxation, the third to cut public spending and waste and the fourth for development. "We accept the goal of decreasing the deficit and the debt, we accept the basic policies of privatization. There must be development as soon as possible, and the redressing of injustices for social cohesion. We will restore the very low pensions and large family benefits by equivalent measures, which have also been accepted by our partners. These measures are at 550 million euros and indicatively can be found by increasing the tax on OPAP gambling earnings and the reduction of SOE deficits. We have looked at public expenses that can be cut without affecting wages and quality of services. Such a cut immediately reaches 400 million euros."
Loans and real estate
Samaras promised measures for borrowers. The installment of loans can not exceed 30% of their monthly income. Those who have a problem will pay only interest for three years. It is a measure that will relieve households and the banks can take it.
He announced that there will be a subsidy of 2% on mortgage loans for 10 years for the first home, while the PPC hike will be eliminated; "which brought damage to the PPC itself, with a uniform tax on real estate, such as ETAK."
THE ND President said he will not increase the objective values of real estate. "We have to let the middle class breathe as it is crushed by taxes. Greece is a country of households, and we must not forget that".
Concerning the bondholders who lost their money from the shearing of bonds, he said "they should be compensated, and there is a way through tax relief for future years." He also answered the question as to "where we will find the 11.5 billion for the measures in June. The answer is by cutting public expenses. We have submitted concrete proposals to cut 18 billion euros. And with the development of the economy, for every 1% decrease in recession, the deficit will be reduced by 1 billion euros."
Privatisations and development
The ND president also spoke about the loss-making SOEs, which will be given over to privatization. Networks and infrastructure will remain in public hands but their functions will be privatized. "If we do not privatize TRAINOSE now it will soon be completely discredited. Investment in railways will result in overall growth. Whatever may be privatized will be privatized and there has been interest by Russians, the French etc. The privatization of the energy sector requires strategic planning," he said.
And he laid out the ways of how the recovery will proceed as quickly as possible:
Firstly, with 14.5 billion euros from EU funds of the NSRF that must be absorbed over the next three years.
Secondly, by providing liquidity for the market with the recapitalization of banks, ECB aid will also emerge.
Thirdly, with the return of the 6.5 billion euros the State owes to private business.
"We will proceed to concessions such as for regional ports and our airports, and develop special programs for youth unemployment with European funds."
As to his fiscal policy, Samaras said that "once we attack tax evasion, we will proceed to a schedule of tax cuts. We will reduce tax rates of legal entities by 15%. We will bring tax amnesty for the return of deposits. We will establish three levels of VAT at 19%, 9%, 5% and in the end there will be a reduction in taxation on individuals. The maximum tax rate will gradually decline to 32%. We will exonerate entrepreneurship. We must help business owners keep their employees and even hire more people".
Decrease of bureaucracy
Samaras promised to fight bureaucracy starting from the government. "We will start with 15 ministries and aim to reach 10 ministries at the end of our four-year term." He added that there will be a blending of public services that are now too numerous and fragmented.
He pledged to "fast track" all major investments and special services for the disengagement of investments, debt compensation to and from the State and provision of a general secretarial for extroversion. He also announced plans to reduce energy costs, vertical integration and export of primary production, energy processing of waste, increase in tourism, water resources management and a chambering policy in exports.
There will also be a final settlement for unauthorized buildings and tax breaks for foreigners who remain in Greece for a long time, as well as facilitation for a visa to Russia and China.
Samaras concluded by saying that to implement these policies we will need the umbrella of Europe and a strong mandate and political autonomy to be able to carry out the program, andhe reiterated his commitment to recommending an inquiry committee on how we arrived at the memorandum.