The 2017 draft state budget envisages that primary surpluses for 2017 and 2016 will significantly surpass targets, paving the way for measures to boost social policy in the coming years.
The primary surplus in 2017 is projected to reach 2.0 pct of GDP, surpassing a target of 1.75 pct set in the economic policy programme and confirming the positive trend of fiscal data. The 2016 primary surplus is also expected to surpass targets to reach 1.09 pct of GDP, from a 0.53 pct initial budget target.
The Greek economy expected to grow by 2.7 pct after a contracting -0.3 pct rate in 2016, while the unemployment rate is projected to fall to 20.6 pct this year.
The country’s public debt is expected to ease to 176.5 pct of GDP in 2017, from 180.3 pct in 2016, although in absolute figures it is expected to rise to 319.2 billion euros in 2017 from 315.4 billion in 2016.
The 2017 budget aims to maintain fiscal balance so as to complete a restoration of the country’s credibility and enable an exit from the fiscal adjustment programme the soonest possible, also to fairly distribute adjustment costs and to achieve a socially fair distribution of the benefits of an economic recovery.
The finance ministry, in an announcement, said “it is the third successive year that the government will achieve its goals, thanks to a prudent fiscal management, a gradual recovery of economic activity and an improvement in tax revenue”.
The draft budget also puts priority on strengthening and fortifying social protection and boosting public
investments. For this reason, the budget incorporates a series of interventions, such as:
-expanding the implementation of a social solidarity income with 760 million euros, covering more than 250,000 households living in poverty,
-strengthening health, education and social protection with an additional 300 million euros,
-contributing 100 million euros for the settlement of non-performing loans by over-indebted households with set income and asset criteria and
-raising the national leg of a Public Investments Programme by 250 million euros.