PM, industrialists to discuss reducing energy costs

Measures for the reduction of energy costs in the industrial sector, as well as the need for adjustments to beleaguered business loans, will be tabled for discussion at a meeting tomorrow between the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Antonis Samaras, the president of the Hellenic Association of Industrialists (SEV), Mr. Theodoros Fessas, and other ministers.

SEV’s list of appeals will include a renewed call for a reduction to the Special Consumption Tax (EFK) imposed on industrial electricity and natural gas bills. The association has been demanding a reduction to the EFK tax on industrial power and gas bills for quite some time. It remains unknown how the government will respond to this latest appeal.

Tomorrow’s meeting, to also include the participation of top-ranked officials from the Finance Ministry, the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Ministry, and, possibly, the Labor Ministry, comes as a lead-up to an interministerial committee, scheduled to convene on Thursday at the Development and Competitiveness Ministry, for talks on measures needed to bolster the industrial sector’s standing.

Another crucial topic on tomorrow’s agenda, at the meeting between the Prime Minister, SEV, and other ministers, concerns a plan being worked on at the Development Ministry to deal with unserviced business loans, or “red loans”, as they are being locally referred to. The plan entails reaching an agreement with banks by September, at the latest, as a means of injecting badly needed cash into the market, through robust enterprises. The details behind this plan concern establishing a mechanism for optional out-of-court settlements that would enable enterprises to negotiate agreements with creditors, including banks, the public sector, social security funds, and individuals.

As for energy issues, an amendment that was tabled last Friday for an Environment, Energy & Climate Change Ministry bill, has given the green light for the implementation of a mechanism intended to offset the cost of purchasing carbon credits. Through this plan, industrial enterprises are expected to receive 20 million euro, annually, from this year until 2020.