Nikolaos Karamouzis: Greece needs to make a leap forward

“Significant progress in the economy and reforms already made must be safeguarded and to become a basis for a growth leap forward, for a big investment boost that will convince markets that Greece is changing. With a commitment agreed to sustain primary surpluses of 3.5 pct of GDP annually in the next recessionary nature years, only a significant increase in investments, exports and a rebirth of private business activity can offer a counterbalance and prospect,” Nikolaos Karamouzis, president of Hellenic Bank Association and chairman of Eurobank said.

Addressing a general assembly of the Greek-French Chamber of Commerce, Karamouzis said a top priority must be completion of a second review and implementing all measures agreed without any further delay.
“Consistency will feed credibility and confidence in markets. It is unjustified, having the same or better macro-economic performance from Portugal to pay 300 basis points more to borrow and to remain five notches below in international credit ratings by S&P and Moody’s,” the Greek banker said.

He added that the country’s funding needs for the period 2018-2023 were limited, only 7.0 billion euros annually on average (EU estimate) or 11 billion euros according to the IMF and wondered: “How is it possible for a country to be unable to implement policies to open up markets for 7.0 billion euros annually?”.

Karamouzis said establishing confidence inside and outside Greece will contribute in reducing interest rates, gradually lifting capital controls and for the banking system and the capital market to gradually return to normality.

He noted that an efficient reduction of NPLs will contribute in the improvement of the role of banks in the development process, in freeing-up liquidity and creating strong business groups. He also emphasized on the systematic and constant cultivation of a business-friendly framework and foreign investments, based on a strong European course, political and economic stability, rationalizing the tax system, a modern land policy and a modern and efficient state in the service of citizens.

Karamouzis also emphasized on the need to implement a privatization program and to promote the country’s comparative advantages.