The Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras, did not leave much room for further business support during the teleconference, which took place on Wednesday 9/3/2022 with the members of the Board of Directors of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and about 100 representatives of professional sectors from all over Greece. , where he repeatedly stressed that “there are no money trees”.
In his introductory statement, the President of EEA, Giannis Chatzitheodosiou, rang the alarm bell for the viability of small and medium enterprises, which are suffocatingly pressed by the sharp wave of price increases. As he pointed out, in many cases the energy cost of running a business now exceeds the cost of rent, at a time when the market is operating sluggishly and turnovers are low due to the inability of consumers to buy products beyond what is absolutely necessary.
“Without targeted support measures, small and medium-sized enterprises will not last long,” said the President of the EEC, estimating that inflation could reach 9% in the coming months and that if there are no immediate interventions, 30% with 35% of businesses going downhill. “Of course we see the government trying to stop this tsunami of price increases. But so far energy subsidies cover only a small part of the total burden we all see on our bills,” he added.
Answering the questions raised by the President of Ε.Ε.Α., the members of the Administrative Committee, of the BoD. and the representatives of the sectors, the Minister of Finance spoke about a difficult situation, with many uncertainties and great difficulties due to the war in Ukraine and the adverse effects on the economies of all countries.
“It is a difficult time, in which there should be calm and realism,” he said, assuring that the government would continue to be close to households and businesses, as far as possible, “with prudence and prudence.”
In this context, Mr. Staikouras also referred to the forthcoming announcement of a package of interventions for the next period, as announced by the Prime Minister a few hours earlier. The Minister of Finance clarified that “another relief” will be given, noting in another part of his speech that not all the damage can be covered.
“We are at war. There will be serious financial losses, which we will try to reduce. There are no money trees,” he said.
“The government has chosen the direction. The direction is reductions in taxes and insurance contributions in a permanent and socially just way. And as much as we can some temporary interventions,” he explained.
Among other things, Mr. Staikouras stated that in June 2022 the reduced VAT on catering, transport, gyms, cinemas and theaters will expire. “Our intention is to expand it, but if we expand it we have to cut something else, which is 250 to 300 million euros,” he said.
It is also the will of the government, he said, to find 2 billion euros in 2023 to make permanent the reduction of insurance contributions and the abolition of the solidarity contribution.
During the teleconference, more than 20 industry representatives were placed, focusing on the unfavorable operating conditions of companies and highlighting the need for further support of businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
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