Privatizations target for 2017 slashed to €437m from €2.2bn

A draft budget submitted to Greek Parliament yesterday raises serious and legitimate questions about the country’s privatizations agenda, which, based on the draft, is now expected to raise 437 million euros in 2017, well under the 2.2 billion-euro objective set, through legislation, last May.

In other words, the initial privatization revenues objective appears would be undercut by 80 percent, according to the budget plan. This could only be so if part-privatizations concerning major corporations such as PPC, the main power utility, DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and ELPE, Hellenic Petroleum, are excluded from the Greek State’s sales list, as energy minister Panos Skourletis has repeatedly said would be the case.

If this is the case, the privatizations agenda is headed towards major revisions, which promises to spark friction, including with the country’s lenders. Yesterday, finance ministry officials pointed the finger at TAIPED, the State Privatization Fund, noting it had come up with the 437 milion-euro figure, while the fund contended it had provided a different figure. TAIPED sources said a correction will follow.

Whatever the case, this latest round of confusion does nothing to offer any clarity to the coountry’s already-blurry privatizations agenda. Serious doubts have also been raised about the 6.2 billion-euro privatization revenues objective set until 2018.

Privatization revenues this year are not expected to exceed 2 billion euros. Given the 437 million-euro forecast for 2017, privatization revenues will need to reach 4 billion euros in 2018 if the aforementioned 6.2 billion-euro target is to be achieved. This is considered practically impossible, meaning the 6.2 billion-euro objective will need to be revised.

Privatization revenue objectives set in May specified a target of 2.5 billion euros for 2016, 2.2 billion euros for 2017 and 1.1 billion euros for 2018.