Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. ANA-MPA
Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday confirmed that Greece is planning to repay loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) early, while speaking to the Greek local radio station “Radio Thessaloniki 94.5”.
Asked whether Greek authorities are considering early repayment, Tsakalotos replied “of course” and noted that the IMF loans are “very expensive debt”. He pointed out that approximately 3.5-4.0 billion euros of the IMF debt carries an interest rate of 5.0 pct, at a time when Greece is able to borrow at much lower rates. The savings that will be generated, according to the minister, can then be used to lower taxes and implement social policies.
Tsakalotos said that an electronic platform on non-performing mortgage loans will operate very soon and stressed that this platform will help both banks to reduce their NPLs and new couples to take out mortgage loans.
The finance minister acknowledged that the government’s priority was to support lower incomes initially, when unemployment stood at 27-28 pct of the workforce, economic growth was slow and state coffers were empty. “But now things are changing,” he added and noted that the government has secured 3.5 billion euros in the next three years, of which half will cover tax reductions.
Tsakalotos said the decision on holding national general elections in the country “lies with the prime minister,” although he added that his own position was “the later, the better”.