ATHENS – Struggling with international lenders, Greece’s new Radical Left SYRIZA government also has problems at home with money running out.
As taxpayers have slowed payments and banks have seen a near-run on withdrawals, the Finance Ministry said it will struggle each day now to pay what is owed.
Kathimerini said that the government is resorting to emergency measures to use cash reserves kept in commercial banks to meet its obligations, payroll and pensions.
There’s enough money only to last through mid-March it was reported but after that there may not be any money left.
The government is obligated to first pay the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) 1.5 billion euros, including 1.4 billion euros in treasury bills that expire March 6.
That’s the same day it must also pay 301 million euros to the IMF. A week later the government is due to pay the IMF another 350 million euros at the same time that treasury bills of 1.6 billion euros are also due.
Then on March 16 Greece will have to pay another 580 million euros to the IMF, with 350 million due four days later. Also, T-bills adding up to another 1.6 billion mature on March 20 and will require a fresh issue.
Those obligations were incurred by previous governments who took 240 billion euros ($272 billion) in two bailouts from the Troika without reducing the country’s debt, which still stands at 174 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The state will also have more unavoidable expenditure that it must somehow cover in March, including interest of 800 million euros on loans and another 1.5 billion euros for pensions plus 1.3 billion more for insurance, healthcare and social protection next month.
Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has so far refused to accept a 7.2-billion euro pending installment from the Troika while insisting he will reverse austerity it demanded and will raise pay and pension benefits, cut taxes and rehire fired workers although analysts said it’s mathematically impossible.