The general government’s arrears to third parties – private citizens, suppliers and all types of businesses – actually exceed six billion euros, officials from Greece’s Court of Audit told members of a relevant Parliament committee on Wednesday.
Arrears were calculated as reaching 6.026 billion euros as of Aug. 31, 2018, up from 4.759 billion euros at the end of 2016
A wide-ranging audit of all Greek state arrears, in fact, was a demand by Greece’s institutional creditors. It was conducted over a span of five months by seven separate teams of auditors and with assistance by the Republic of Cyprus’ Audit Office.
Among the more prominent findings of the audits was the fact that the Greek defense ministry awarded 431 direct contacts between the 2016-2017 period, worth 5.4 million euros.
A spike in arrears owed to the private sector by state hospitals, according to the Court of Auditors’ representatives, is mostly due to “improper” procedures for allocating procurement contracts.
Auditors even calculated how much the Urban Rail Transports utility, which operates the fixed rail networks in the greater Athens area, lost over the two-year period from fare dodging – roughly 10 million euros.
Conversely, social security funds – which previously ranked as among the worst general government entities in terms of late payments – did not post significant increases in the outstanding figures they owed.
“The problem with state arrears has for years plagued the Greek economy… Court-ordered payments (to the private sector), for instance, appear after five, six years, and are exasperated due to imposed interest,” the president of the Court of Audit, Androniki Theotokakou, said.
The Court of Audit has the responsibility of scrutinizing state and local agencies’ expenditures, as well as other wider public sector entities subject to its Review.