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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-01-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Finance ministry Omnibus bill tabled, vote next week
  • [02] Roman-era marble slab unearthed on Santorini
  • [03] PM: 2012 will be a difficult year

  • [01] Finance ministry Omnibus bill tabled, vote next week

    AMNA--The finance ministry's omnibus bill on "Urgent Regulations pertaining to the implementation of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy 2012-2015) was tabled in parliament late Tuesday night, and will be debated and voted on in the parliament plenary next week, after submission for examination to a joint meeting of parliament's Standing Committees on Economic Affairs and on Production and Trade on Thursday.

    Debate on the omnibus bill will begin in the 300-member parliament on Tuesday.

    The bill, tabled late Tuesday night by government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, ties up loose ends in Greece's obligations ahead of a second EU-IMF bailout loan, including the 'opening' of the so-called closed professions (lawyers, notaries public, road transports, etc), the facilitation of the privatisations and more efficient tax audits and checks.

    It also contains auspicious arrangements for taxpayers with overdue debts to the state and for businesses with overdue contributions to social security funds. More specifically, the bill provides for the settlement of overdue debts to the state in up to 60 monthly installments of 300 euros or more, in an effort to facilitate taxpayers.

    The bill further provides for the utilisation of collection agencies for collection of these debts to the state.amna

    For businesses, an arrangement is introduced for settlement of overdue contributions to the social security funds with a one-off payment or payment in three installments with a 100 percent discount in surcharges (for late payment), a 75 percent discount in surcharges for payment in 4-6 installments, and a 50 percent discount in surcharges for payment in 7-9 installments. Court procedures are further envisaged for overdue contributions to social security funds exceeding 150,000 euros.

    Also, the bill provides for the introduction of objective criteria for the determination of the taxable income of professionals during the process of a tax audit, with the turnover, and thus the tax that must be paid, to be determined during the audit based on a series of factors such as the auditee's liquidity, bank deposits, expenses paid in cash, net position, and price and sale ratio to the overall turnover.

    [02] Roman-era marble slab unearthed on Santorini

    AMNA--A Roman-era engraved marble slab was unearthed on Tuesday on the island of Santorini near the settlement of Perissa, during excavations for a water supply and sewage system that were being conducted under the supervision of the 2nd Ephorate for Byzantine Antiquities.

    The slab is 1.82 meters in length and 0.91 meters in height, with a thickness of 0.25m, and depicts two adult male figures. The right-side figure bears the inscription MELIS and the left-side figure the inscription HARICLES.amna

    The wider area of Perissas where the marble slab was found is of great archaeological interest.

    [03] PM: 2012 will be a difficult year

    AMNA--Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said that 2012 will be a difficult year, as was 2011, but appeared optimistic that "if we all work together systematically and decisively we can create conditions for an exit from the crisis."

    According to sources the country can, with these preconditions, expect growth at the end of the year, with an increase in employment and the creation of opportunities for all. However, the coming weeks will be very crucial since three fundamental targets must be achieved.

    - Firstly, the country must fulfill all the commitments it has undertaken on the basis of the existing (bailout) programme.

    -Secondly, the new programme must be shaped in a reliable way in order for fiscal restructuring and the recovery of the economy to be achieved.

    - Thirdly, the PSI bond swap programme must be completed in accordance with the basic characteristics, as they have been determined with the decisions of the October 26 EU summit.

    If these targets are achieved, both the European partners and the IMF will continue to finance the country unimpededly for the next three years.

    Government sources appeared certain that the Papademos cooperation government can carry out the task more efficiently than a different type of government.

    In tandem with the achievement of the three targets outlined above, the government is pursuing the backing of policies for economic and social activity and for the economy's growth which, however, is not anticipated in the current year.

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