ATHENS, Oct 7 (XINHUA/APP):The Greek government anticipates economic growth to accelerate to 2.8 percent next year, slashing the unemployment rate by nearly two percentage points, while the budget sticks to Greece’s primary surplus commitments to its creditors, according to the first 2020 draft budget tabled in parliament on Monday.
In the first full year under the new government of center-right New Democracy party, elected into office three months ago, Greece’s finance ministry projects the economy to beat the growth target for 2020 set by the previous administration’s medium-term Stability Program by 0.5 percentage points.
The ministry expects the economy to grow by 2 percent throughout 2019, after a 1.5 percent growth rate in the first half of the year, according to Hellenic Statistical Authority figures.
That would mean a 2.5 percent expansion in the year’s latter half, with investments projected to grow annually by 8.8 percent throughout 2019, after rising just 1.2 percent in January-June 2019.
As a result of an expanding economy, Greece’s unemployment, by far the eurozone’s highest, is projected to drop to 15.6 percent in 2020, from an estimated 17.4 percent rate this year.
The draft budget further provides for a 5.1 percent yearly advance in exports of goods and services and a 5.2 percent growth in imports.
Deputy Minister for Fiscal Policy Thodoros Skylakakis commented on the draft budget that it “provides for a significant increase to the growth rate, marking a radical shift of the economic policy from overtaxation and divestment toward growth employment and the increase of citizens’ disposable incomes.”
He went on to stress the budget’s projection for an 1.8 percent annual increase in private consumption and a 13.4 percent rise in investments next year.
“In total the government measures to reflate the economy, including the new social initiatives, add up to 1.2 billion euros (1.32 billion U.S. dollars),” stated Skylakakis. (1 euro = 1.10 U.S. dollars)
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