ATHENS – With unpaid bills to the state jumping another billion euros to top 71. billion euros, the Greek government is preparing a new installment plan for debtors which will exempt those who owe more than one million euros but force others with lesser debts to pay up.
But infighting between ministers and a requirement Greece get the okay from its international lenders is holding up implementation of the scheme.
The unpaid bills are piling up because many Greeks are still struggling with big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings imposed by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras on orders of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
That led Samaras to bring together top officials from the ministries of Finance, Development, Labor and Justice to prepare plans for repayment. The guidelines were reported to be:
– Negotiations will be held with the creditors’ representatives for an increase to the 15,000-euro upper limit of debt for a maximum of 100 installments for repayment, beyond which the limit will be 72 tranches.
– Banks will follow and not precede the state’s debt arrangement with debtors
– Debts of over 1 million euros will be exempted.
– The interest rate will amount to 4.56 percent, from the current 8.05 percent.
– The deadline for applications will be the end of January.
Tax debts to the Greek state hit a new record in September, reaching a total of 70.16 billion euros from 69.24 billion euros in August, the General Secretariat for Public Revenues said.
New debts in the January-September period came to 9.68 billion euros, added to a total shortfall of 60.48 billion dating from before 2013. in September alone, taxpayers ran up debts of 923 million euros, the secretariat said.
In the nine-month period from January to September, the state managed to collect 2.69 billion euros in arrears, or 14.16 percent, missing the target set by the Troika for 2 billion euros in revenues from old debts by the end of the year and the collection of 25 percent of all new debts.