Greece could save its businesses hundreds of millions of euros a year and improve their competitiveness by reducing administrative burdens, according to a new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report.
Measurement and Reduction of Administrative Burdens in Greece: An Overview of 13 Sectors identifies 3.3 billion euros worth of burdensome regulations weighing on businesses each year and says a quarter of these could be eliminated. Around three-quarters of the costs relate to company law, tax administration and public procurement.
Greece has worked to strengthen its public finances and restore competitiveness as it emerges from a deep crisis, but it needs now to reduce the layers of administrative requirements on businesses to support economic growth and jobs, the report says.
“This report takes a careful look at what it is costing Greek businesses to comply with rules and regulations which in many cases are unnecessary,” said OECD Deputy Chief of Staff Luiz de Mello, presenting the report in Athens. “Cutting some of this red tape would enable companies to spend less on administration and more on doing business.”
The report makes 87 recommendations for cutting down paperwork in 13 areas, including energy, telecommunications and fisheries. Many involve eliminating obligations to submit several paper copies of a document or dossier to different public authorities.
The 87 specific recommendations include:
• Setting a turnover threshold of 10,000 euros below which companies do not have to submit receipts to register value-added tax payments.
• Reducing the legal requirements on publishing annual financial statements.
• Allowing farmers simpler and faster access to European Union development aid, rather than a cumbersome existing system that uses intermediaries.
• Increasing the use of framework agreements in public procurement across all sectors, to make it simpler to draw up specific contracts.
• Simplifying annual leave records that need to be kept by employers.
• Enabling environment permits to be submitted and tracked online rather than via reports in paper form.