Measures for tax cuts in Greece and boosting the income of the people were among those announced on Saturday evening by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the inauguration ceremony of the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Under the slogan “Growth for all”, the Greek PM outlined the government’s plans for the next 12 months and onward and focused on taxation, investments and employment.
“‘Growth for All’ includes the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. Because, it is a success when, alongside a large project, a small enterprise increases its turnover as well,” he said.
Underlining the government’s achievements in the the two-month period since taking office, which include the reduction of the unified property tax (ENFIA) and the full abolition of capital controls, PM Mitsotakis underlined that the foundations for the country’s “regeneration” are slowly being placed.
“Greece is no longer the black sheep of Europe,” he underlined.
During his speech, the Greek PM focused on tax relief measures for both citizens and businesses, announced the intention to suspend value-added tax (VAT) for three years on the construction of new buildings, and to reduce the tax rate imposed on income up to 10,000 euros annually to 9 percent from 22 percent.
The Greek PM said that corporate tax will be reduced from 28 percent to 24 percent and taxation on dividends would be cut from 10 percent to five percent.
Moreover, the government will offer a 40 percent deduction on the costs of renovating or upgrading buildings in the country and suspend the real estate surplus tax.
In the medium term, but not within 2020, the Greek government will see to abolish the self-employed and liberal professions contribution (telos epitidevmatos) and the special solidarity contribution (eidiki eisfora allilegis).
In regards to employment, the Greek PM announced that from July 1, 2020, the gradual reduction of insurance contributions by five units, only for full-time employees, until 2023 will begin.
“With the reduction in contributions, employees will immediately see an increase in their salaries. But businesses will also see cost savings per employee, which will lead to an increase in permanent employment,” he said.
The Greek PM also announced incentives for investors, underlining that more favorable conditions are being immediately put in place to attract strategic investments in Greece.
“Environmental licensing is being simplified to match European standards,” he said, adding that a countrywide infrastructure register will be established to inform and attract investors.
According to Mitsotakis, the new tax bill, expected to be tabled in parliament next month, will create the conditions for large multinational companies to set up shop in Greece.
PM Mitsotakis also reminded that since taking office his government has “unblocked” three major investment projects that were caught in red tape for some time – specifically the investment at Athens’ Hellinikon former airport area, the works at Skouries mines by Eldorado Gold and the Piraeus Port upgrade by Cosco.
“For the Hellenikon project, three key joint ministerial decisions concerning the park, coastal front and casino were issued,” he said, adding that the fourth pending decision for the project’s planning zones will be issued this month and the investor for the casino will be announced by October 4.
The Greek PM listed the benefits of the project that will begin in early 2020: the Greek state will receive 300 million euros as an advance payment, 10,000 jobs will be available during construction and 75,000 once the project is completed. The total investment value of the Hellinikon project is estimated at 8 billion euros.
Referring to the investment of Eldorado Gold, the Greek PM said that three pending decisions regarding the gold mining works at Skouries mines in the Halkidiki peninsula were signed, while the government is also discussing with the company the revision of the concession agreement so that a new one-billion-euro investment can be carried out in Thrace. Jobs during construction are expected to amount to 1,900 and to over 900 once completed.
On the new plan for the Piraeus Port submitted recently by Cosco, which looks to benefit cruise tourism and includes new infrastructure and the establishment of hotels, the PM said that the Shipping Ministry will have reviewed it by next month. The total investment value is estimated at over 800 million euros. Jobs during construction are expected to amount to 2,500 and to 3,000 after completion.
On the privatization front, PM Mitsotakis said that the Greek government will soon begin the process for the sale of a 30 percent share of Athens International Airport (AIA) and is also going ahead with the sale of a stake at Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum oil refinery.
The 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) opened on Saturday and will run until September 15.