Greece €400 Million Short For Wage And Pension Payments, Rushes To Pass Troika-Friendly Laws

According to Bloomberg, the Greek government is €400 million short of the amount needed for payment of pensions and salaries this month, citing a Kathimerini report.Surprisingly, this takes place even as Greece’s IKA, OGA pension funds have been informed by the government that amount needed for payment of pensions will be deposited today, while the Greece’s OAEE pension fund has said payment of pensions won’t be a problem.

In other words, someone is not telling the truth: either there is enough money or there isn’t. And if the latter case is valid, then either the government or the pensions are now openly lying to the population.

This news follows a late, three-hour interview with the Greek PM on Skai TV, in which Tsipras “voiced hope that bailout talks between the cash-strapped country and its international creditors are “very close” to an initial deal, and ruled out early elections if the dragging negotiations fail.”

“I think that by May 9 we will have an agreement” that will allow release of some bailout funds, he said in a three-hour interview screened just before midnight Monday. How that is possible when Germany has repeated on many occasions that it would not consider a piece-meal deal is unclear, but perhaps things have indeed changed and all it took was a Varoufakis pink slip.

What is also curious is that during the interview Tsipras once again pivoted strongly toward Russia saying that “Greece is key for the Russian gas pipeline”, adding that the Turkish Stream pipeline would lower Greek powr [sic] costs, and that Greece could get €3 billion for the gas pipeline deal.

Hopefully the Greek PM understands that he is merely antagonizing the EU every time he mentions the Kremlin: his final negotiating trump card.

So in an attempt to offset any “pent up” Troika anger, earlier today we also learned that the Greek government is planning to pass into law various measures that the creditors agree on, such as a single value-added tax rate abolishing all existing exemptions, according to Brussels officials. According to Kathimerini, “sources from the seat of the European Commission speak of a flat 18 percent VAT rate for all services and commodities with the exception of medicines, to come into force by the second half of the year. For now Athens categorically refutes such a scenario, noting that negotiations are still ongoing.”

Among the bevy of other measures which will be included in the bill are the following as laid out by Greek Naftemporiki and as summarized by Bloomberg:

  • Measures to implement 20% tax on TV advertising
  • Increase sales tax rate on luxury goods
  • Strengthen tax dispute resolution mechanism to speed up closure of pending cases
  • Improve online VAT payment model
  • Improve monitoring of digital economy by tax authority
  • Make tax code easier to bring criminal cases for large- scale evaders
  • VAT lottery scheme to reward customers demanding receipts
  • Charge fees for issuance of e-gaming licenses
  • Auction licenses for TV station frequencies
  • Strengthen independence of public revenue authority

Full article: Greece €400 Million Short For Wage And Pension Payments, Rushes To Pass Troika-Friendly Laws (Zero Hedge)

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