The preconditions and factors for Greece to successfully kick-start the economy through investment were the subject of the talk by the Managing Director of the National Bank of Greece, Alexandros Tourkolias, at the International Hellenic University in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, 24 October.
Speaking to a packed audience of businesspeople and senior executives, academics and students, Mr Tourkolias first analysed the economic conditions and events of the last five years the impact of which was the dramatic contraction in investment reaching proportions of effective disinvestment. According to Mr Tourkolias, "the sustainable recovery of the economy requires capital re-accumulation at rates which, in combination with employment growth, will bring about a healthy rate of growth in GDP in the medium term, which will also ensure, apart from anything else, the sustainability of public debt".
Mr Tourkolias highlighted the importance of government policy in creating an attractive environment for domestic and foreign investment, including measures to deal with bureaucracy and corruption, investment policies focusing on sectors of the economy in which Greece has a competitive advantage and the acceleration of privatisations. He also stressed the importance of the rational exploitation of the huge sums available through the NSRF and the EIB, totalling some 14 billion € by 2014-15, through properly targeted investments, giving a boost both to large projects and to the investment activity of the SMEs forming the backbone of the Greek economy. The realignment of Greece's productive base away from dependence on public sector spending and towards genuine and sustainable market demand is essential to recovery and, according to Mr Tourkolias, is already taking place.
Summarizing, the Managing Director of the National Bank of Greece noted that the recovery path of investment presupposes reduced uncertainty, strengthened confidence in the economy and the design and implementation of a national strategy. The severe recession, which demands immediate relief through investment, means that the time limits for developing this attractive environment are limited. Developments over the next few weeks will be of central importance in shaping the prospects of the Greek economy.
Visit the International Hellenic University website to watch the TV videos and read the full speech by Mr. Tourkolias in Greek language. Click here