Greece prepared to submit further reform measures

Greece’s government said Monday it was ready to propose further reforms, including several to combat tax evasion, that it hopes will convince creditors to unlock badly-needed aid for the country.

According to a government official, among the new reforms is one that envisions linking retail sales receipts to a lottery–an idea that has been tested in other countries–as an inducement to consumers to demand receipts at points of sale. Other proposals include reviewing past income tax declarations of individuals and amending Greek law to tighten up rules on related party transactions.

The proposals, to be presented to technical teams acting on behalf of the creditors, comes as eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels to evaluate Greece’s reform program. The meeting follows a preliminary deal between Greece’s new government and the eurogroup reached Feb. 20 that effectively gives Athens four months to detail a new program of overhauls in exchange for aid from its 240 billion euro ($260 billion) bailout.

Late last week, Greece presented a list of seven overhauls for eurozone finance ministers to consider.

“The government is ready to enrich the list with other reforms, some of which will be submitted immediately to technical teams,” said the official. “Those reforms, along with dozens of others, are a part of the national scheme for reconstruction and growth that the government will present by April.”

However, so far the response from eurozone officials has been cool with European officials saying Greece must give further details and clarity over its reform program. Monday’s eurogroup meeting is not expected to result in any decisions, while European officials insist that technical inspectors from the three institutions overseeing Greece’s bailout–from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank–must first do an on-the-ground evaluation in Athens.

So far, Greece has resisted a visit by those inspectors and the official said that the Eurogroup meeting should focus on broad principles rather than technical issues.

“The Eurogroup has to remain a policy organ. Technical details shouldn’t be discussed,” the official said. “The goal is to have political progress.”