In accordance with a decision that was reached by the interministerial privatization committee, the Greek finance ministry has announced that it will take steps to speed up the process of privatizing real estate and other assets. As part of the new process, the country intends to raise EUR7 billion between 2011 and 2013 through privatizations. With the help of these funds, Greece intends to reduce its high budget deficit as well as its significant national debt while also paying back the EUR110 billion it receved as part of a bailout agreement. By making these changes, Greece will be following through with one of the several conditions that were imposed upon the country by the International Monetary Fund as well as the European Union as part of the bailout agreement.
“The government is determined to achieve its target with absolute transparency while safeguarding the public interest, promoting reforms and restructuring in sectors that can contribute to growth and competitiveness,” said the finance ministry in a statement.
As part of the process, the ministry’s special secretariat for asset restructuring and privatizations will appoint new advisors. These advisors will be responsible for completing a quantitative and qualitative inventory of state-owned real estate assets, a process which is expected to be completed by June of next year. Furthermore, the finance ministry intends to utilize the fast-track investment laws to assist with the development of the old Hellenikon airport. The ministry will also take a closer look at its mature public real estate assets. Other steps the ministry is prepared to take in order to repay its debt is to extend the concessions of the Athens International Airport, to sell a stake in the natural gas network operator DESFA, to sale a stake in natural gas supplier DEPA and to look for a strategic investor for its Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS). The country is also planning to sell 11 of its regional airports, extending its concessions for Attiki and Egnatia motorways and unbundling its Loan and Consignment Fund.
Since tourism has long been an important source of funding for the country, the ministry also intends to take steps to help boost the tourism industry. One step will be to develop marinas close to 850 regional airports.