Dep. Economy Minister Charitsis: Government aiming for sustainable growth via investments

Deputy Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Alexis Charitsis outlined the government’s plans to create a new model for sustainable growth by attracting investments, in an interview with the newspaper “Ethnos” published on Saturday. He said the government was banking on a “powerful injection of liquidity” to be provided by an estimated 11 billion euros that are expected to enter the real economy this year.

Charitsis, who is in charge of managing the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds, said that 10 billion euros will come from the public investments programme and NSRF, while one billion euros will arise by setting up three new financing tools for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that will be activated within 2016.

This one billion will be further leveraged with private funds, he added, and two more significant financing tools will then follow in the first quarter of 2017: the new Infrastructure Fund and the MicroLoans Fund.

Regarding NSRF, Charitsis said that all its programmes focused on creating new, good-quality jobs that can stem the flow of young scientists leaving Greece to find work abroad. He announced that invitations corresponding to more than 50 pct of the available funds, or 10 billion euros, will be sent out by the end of 2016, putting Greece in the top positions among the EU member-states on that score.

He also noted that the rate of absorption will exceed the 7 pct original target, greatly surpassing past performance.

According to the minister, a total of 6.75 billion euros will be injected into Greece’s market from the full execution of the public investments programme, while another 3.5 billion euros will come from paying off state debts.

In the interview, Charitsis pointed out that the aim was to shift to a new model that made full use of the country’s comparative advantages, especially its highly trained personnel.

“The aim is not, as in the past, to achieve positive indices based on rotten productive foundations but a growth that can be sustainable, both economically and environmentally, and work to benefit the social majority. What we strive for are investments, both public and private, that leave a substantial growth and social footprint,” Charitsis added.

On a European level, the minister said that reinforcing solidarity and growth policies in place of destructive austerity was the only antidote to the rise of far-right and xenophobic trends.