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Delays have left Greece with finance gap: Lagarde

26 september 2012, 10:23
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Monday that delays in implementing Greece's bailout program, including privatization, have expanded the country's financing shortfall, AFP reports.

Lagarde said that the 11.5 billion euros ($15 billion) in more spending cuts and revenues increases demanded by Greece's rescue lenders, including the IMF, might not be enough to get the massive rescue and reform operation back on the rails.

"As a result of the major delay in privatization (...) and the limited revenue revenue collection, there's a financing gap, especially if factoring in more time," she told an audience at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"We don't only need 11.5 billion euros of cuts; we need a series of cuts and additional revenues in order to fill in the fiscal gap," she said.

"We need some structural reforms that are in the interest of Greece and the Greek population," she said, noting that many professions are still "closed up" to new entrants despite the high jobless rate.

"The Greek debt will have to be addressed as part of the equation," Lagarde added.

Athens has been struggling under pressure from its creditors the European Union and the European Central bank to identify more savings and revenues that are necessary to unlock an new loan installment under the 130 billion bailout of the country's finances.

Many analysts think that Greece will need a fresh commitment of funds to bridge its shortfalls.

Greece has also asked the IMF-EU-ECB troika for more time to meet budget targets.

A loan installment of 31.5 billion euros is pending, needed by Athens to pay state salaries and pensions, recapitalize Greek banks hit by a state debt rollover and repay over six billion euros owed to private contractors.

The fiscal program is supposed to run to 2014, but Greece wants this deadline extended to 2016.

A European Union summit on October 18 and 19 is expected to decide on the Greek request.

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