Mytilineos: Greece still lags behind in creating a friendly environment for investors

“The industrial sector must and wants to be the arm of the productive reconstruction of the country. The industrial sector must and wants to contribute to the planning of another significant reform: that of a single industrial policy,” Evangelos Mytilineos, chairman and CEO of Mytilineos SA said on Friday.

Addressing a seminar on “Greek Industry and Current Developments”, Mytilineos stressed that “as any other reforms, this one needs vision, ideas, consensus and collaboration. It needs long-term planning and perspective. We are in a time period when I would like to believe we all are ready to sit at the same table and discuss what kind of development we want. A development that will allow the economy to breathe, bring our young scientists back and allow industry to regain a leading role”.

Mytilineos noted that while Europe was moving into the era of Industry 4.0, Greece had yet to resolve basic issues, such as energy cost. The Federation of Hellenic Enterprises has already presented its proposals in the framework of Business Europe. He added that industry can become a leader and contribute decisively to building post-crisis Greece.

With the help of all productive forces, and the state, the industry’s share in the country’s GDP could reach 12 pct and lead the economy to growth. This needs national consensus, dialogue and bold moves: a simpler legislative framework, incentives and investments, which means more revenue for the state, more extroversation, he noted.

“There are no more industrialists. Do you see any industrialist in a lifestyle magazine?” Mytilineos said, adding that the social model has changed. The people running industries these days are very hard working people, fully conscious of their responsibility towards workers, the economy and society.

Mytilineos said goals set to reduce emissions were a challenge for the European economy and the industrial sector and will come without cost or risks. He said that ambition should be accompanied by realism and focused actions for today and tomorrow to ensure a level playing field for Greek industry on a global level.

He added that although some steps have been made in the last 6-7 years, Greece still lags behind in creating an environment that is friendly for new investments, so badly needed by Greece to recover from the crisis. Mytilineos said that SEV has presented all the interventions needed: incentives for investments, fast track licensing, special treatment of strategic investments and abolition of outdated legal and regulatory hurdles. He noted that legislation presented by the economy ministry was moving in the right direction and expressed hope that more such moves will follow.

Mytilineos said that manufacturing activity created around 9.9 pct of Gross Added Value in 2016 (or 8.6 pct of GDP), while the wider industrial sector created 13.8 pct of GAV, or 20.5 billion euros. An 87.7 pct of exports of goods were industrial products (worth 22.3 billion euros) or 42.1 pct of total exports. “Industry, despite adverse conditions prevailing, contributed 40 pct of total corporate tax revenue and completed 23 billion euros in investments in the period 2009-2015,” he noted.