Greece will plough 1.4 billion euros of its fiscal surplus into welfare handouts, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said, as the country emerges from an austerity programme imposed by creditors. The Greek economy is expected to grow 2.4 per cent in 2018, after a series of multi-billion-euro bailouts since 2010. The surplus not counting debt payments is expected to reach 3.57 per cent, higher than that mandated by the country’s creditors. Tsipras said on television that 720 million euros (USD 840 million) would be used as a one-off financial handout for households earning less than 18,000 euros annually, covering some 3.4 million people.
A total of 315 million euros would go for compensating health insurance costs incurred by pensioners, while the debt-laden electricity provider DEI would get 360 million euros to offer cheaper tariffs to poor consumers.
These measures attest to “the political and social priorities” of the left-wing government, Tsipras said. Tsipras had announced a similar measure in December last year worth 617 million euros mainly in the form of one-off payments.