Greece and its international lenders have struck a deal on the latest set of reforms needed for Athens to receive 1 billion euros (US$1.099 billion) in further bailout aid, Greek Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos said on Friday.
The reforms relate to a new privatization fund, a shake-up of the power sector and how to open up the market for non-performing loans.
The Greek Parliament is to vote on the bill next week, Tsakalotos said.
The two sides reached an agreement on the structure of the new privatization fund, whose revenues are to be used to boost investment and pay down the national debt, as demanded by Germany and other creditors.
“The new fund will have a supervisory board, which will be appointed by both the government and the lenders,” a government official told reporters.
Greece is to pick three and the lenders two of the supervisory board’s members, but both sides will have veto rights, the official said.
The board is to name the management of the new fund, which will consist of Greece’s current privatization fund (HRADF), the bank rescue fund (HFSF), real-estate assets and state holdings in public utilities, the official said.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government wants to speed up negotiations and open the way for talks on debt relief, seeking urgently to convince Greeks that their sacrifices will be rewarded.
Greece and its lenders also agreed that the state is to take a stake of at least 51 percent in power grid operator ADMIE, which is now fully owned by the dominant power utility PPC.
The rest will be privatized, a Greek Ministry of Energy official said.
PPC itself is 51 percent state-owned.
“We are already achieving significant victories in this hard negotiation with our lenders, like the one we achieved yesterday by keeping ADMIE in state hands,” Tsipras told parliament.
Athens halted the sale of a 66 percent stake in ADMIE after Tsipras won an election in January. It agreed under a third bailout deal in August to either restart the tender or find other ways to open up the electricity market.
A 20 percent stake in the grid operator is to be sold to a private investor and 29 percent is to be floated on the Athens stock exchange, the energy ministry official said.
“We are open and we will try to have a European electricity transmission operator also participating as a minority shareholder,” the official said.
ADMIE has a book value of about 900 million euros and Greece is to appoint an independent valuer to assess the price it has to pay PPC for the majority stake. It was not clear how the cash-strapped government would pay.
Athens is still struggling to keep non-performing loans to small business and consumers out of the clutches of “vulture funds” that buy loan books of distressed debt at a discount and try to recover the money.
Greek Minister of the Economy George Stathakis said that the agreement for non-performing loans would open up the market for loan transfers, but excludes mortgages for primary homes, consumer loans and those of small and medium-sized enterprises, for which there is to be a regulatory framework put in place by Feb. 15.
The latest reform bill was expected to be submitted to parliament yesterday.
The government aims to secure parliament’s approval on Tuesday to get the 1 billion euro tranche by Friday.
It will then have to pass other reforms — including a major restructuring of the ailing pension system — to conclude its first bailout review and open talks about debt relief.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for