Dimitris Rapidis

Early surveys over the average monthly revenue of public sector employees in Greece unveils a stunning fact: no matter how much the government is diminishing monthly wages, there is no way the gap of 11.5 billion euro to be gathered in order the Greek government to ask for a further prolongement of the stabilization programme regarding debt handling from troika.

Let us deal with three major sectors providing public goods: health system; education; security. More precisely, for the doctors of the public healthcare system the new monthly wage after the additional decrease is stabilized to 1.100 euro approximately after five years of service, including all extra-time services demanded in certain periods of the year. For the professors of secondary education the average wage reaches 640 euro in sum, whereas in the private sector the amount is a slightly higher (i.e. 780 euro). Finally, the security services, i.e. army and police, the average monthly revenue is reaching 683 euro after cuts. According to these facts, I am really wondering how come all those professionals can contribute efficiently in their work and carry out the burden of maintaining a family, a rent, a car in monthly scale.

At the same time, it is amazingly overwhelming the tax evasion rate and the progress that has never been reached despite the commitments of the govenment (i.e. it is not literally the commitments of the current government, but all those ruling the country since the 1990s). As a matter of fact, and according to the stats provided by the Corps dealing with Economic Crime, over 737 cases of tax evaders have been identified but none of them has been brought into justice since then. It is estimated that only from the one third of the cases over 400 million euro can be collected and brought into public fund. Meanwhile, in the Greek islands it is estimated that the average rate of tax evasion reaches 60%, let alone the illusive rates accumulated by non-registered gains. Since January 2012, over 11.500 complaints for tax evasion have been recorded with only few of them having been tracked.

After all, we are still wondering why public respositories in Greece are still empty and deficit still shows no signs of improvement. Spending cuts to public sector is proved to be one of the most efficient financial measures to collect money, but nonetheless this measure has its limits. Average tax payers cannot assume the burden of decreasing public deficit and debt as long as “big sharks” of tax evasion still not contribute to the public debt.

All things considered, it is all about politics. If the political leadership was willing to sincerely combat debt crisis, it could definitely find the way to monitor and catch tax evaders even though many of them have found the way to transfer money in offshore accounts. I repeat: it is a matter of politics.

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  1. Well informative article. I guess Greece needs a greater push, to revamp its economy. Before that it needs to revamp its public sector first.

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