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31 August, 2001
The Greek economy is thriving and the eurozone 'wager' has been won, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Thursday, as he emerged from a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The meeting focused on the Greek economy's performance, which Papantoniou said was good. Specifically, he said the rate of growth in Greece for 2002 was expected to be twice the EU average, while public debt was expected to shrink and inflation to stay low.
With respect to a package of social and welfare measures planned by the government, Papantoniou said final decisions on this would be made when the cabinet met next Tuesday.
Budget revenues' growth exceed target:
Greece's budget revenue's growth exceeded the official target in the first seven months of the year, with state revenues increasing by 9.0 percent compared with an 8.0 percent growth target, or a surplus of 71 billion drachmas.
The regular budget's primary spending rose 7.7 percent in the January-July period, remaining within the official target for a 7.9 percent increase for the seventh consecutive month. Net primary spending also rose 7.3 percent over the same period.
Spending for servicing the public debt, however, rose 0.1 percent in the first seven months of the year, compared with an annual target for a 2.1 percent decrease. Deputy Finance Minister George Drys said that interest spending was significantly lower com-pared with previous months and said he was confident that the budget target for the year would be met.
The average absorption rate by the government's ministries was 54 percent in the January-July period, while the Public Investments Program also trailed behind targets both in revenues and spending (-10.5 percent) due to accounting problems with inflows, worth 600 billion drachmas, from community funds.
Drys said that next year's draft budget would be submitted to parliament in the first Tuesday of October along with a fiscal plan for public spending in the years 2003 and 2004.
Source: Athens News Agency