Lower special consumption tax on gas would boost GDP, study notes

IOBE, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, has highlighted the potential benefits for the Greek economy of a reduced special consumption tax (EFK) on natural gas used by the industrial sector and gas-powered electricity stations.

A study conducted by IOBE showed that a reduction of the special consumption tax imposed on gas could boost Greece’s GDP figure by 754 million euros and create 12,500 new jobs.

The study noted that the special consumption tax rate imposed on natural gas in Greece is ten times over a minimum level set by an EU directive for business use and five times over a minimum level set for non-business use.

According to EU regulations, special consumption tax is not compulsory for natural gas used at gas-powered electricity stations and for industrial use, and, in fact, is exempted from these categories by the majority of EU member states, the study noted.

The special consumption tax imposed on natural gas in Greece represents approximately 12 percent of the price paid by major business consumers. It is one of the highest percentages in the EU.

The elevated special consumption tax rates add to the burden of relatively higher natural gas import costs for Greece, again one of the EU’s highest, the study noted. Pretax natural gas prices for large-scale consumers in Greece are 24 percent higher than the EU-28 average, while the final price, not including VAT and other levies, is 33 percent higher, according to the IOBE study.

Comparing Greece’s natural gas cost with that of neighboring countries, Greek companies pay 42 percent more than Bulgarian firms and 72 percent more than Turkish companies, the study found.