Investment Min.: Hellinikon casino tender to be extended; PPPs for investment proposals

The government will outsource to the private sector the licensing of new investments, Developments and Investments Adonis Georgiadis said in parliament on Monday, during the three-day debate on the government’s policy platform.

Georgiadis said a relevant draft bill will be tabled in parliament that will include other provisions for speedier processing of investment applications.

“We are moving fast to public-private partnerships (PPP), and avoid investment application stagnation,” he said.

He also announced that a central e-licensing system would be set up within the next few months, and would connect to databases of ministries, chambers of commerce and such, to provide information to investors. The system will be introduced on a test basis in five Greek cities, while a unified digital map will be ready in two years.

“By pressing a button, if someone wants to buy a plot of land for an investment, they will be able to see the terms and regulations of construction, the use of land, city plans” and other factors, he said. An investor, he noted, “will know about the business environment they are interested in – they will face no surprises, they won’t suffer from bureaucracy.”

In terms of Hellinikon’s investment, Georgiadis acknowledged to main opposition SYRIZA MP Peti Perka that the previous government “expended great effort for the project” but said the delays now appear to have been related to internal government and party resistance at the time. “All agencies that were delayed are now unexpectedly coming to decisions and signing very fast. This is the spirit brought by the new government,” he said

The Hellinikon project will begin within 2019, he said, adding that the tender for the casino will be extended beyond its deadline of July 31. The agreement will not be changed by the government, he said, since its vote in parliament.

Speaking of NSRF programs, the minister said that 42 pct of the projects included under the EU funding “have not even begun, as their contracts have not been drawn up yet. Greece is 19th, among the EU28, in (EU fund) absorption.”

He also spoke of his role in ensuring that Creta Farm did not shut down, but came to agreement between banks and the two shareholders involved in a family feud.