The Greek government said Tuesday it planned to speed up implementation of its privatisation plan, with the transfer of a first batch of state assets to a privatisation fund.Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the transfer would begin as early as Wednesday, with the fund tasked with immediately negotiating sales of state assets in the energy firms Depa and Helpe.The first wave of privatisation will also include the extensions of the concession to operate Athens airport, the license for sports gambling firm OPAP, and the granting of new mobile telephone operating licenses, said the minister.
"These assets will be transferred tomorrow to the state property fund and the same thing will be done so the pace of the maturity of all the programmes is rapid," said Venizelos.
The minister spoke after a cabinet meeting held as Greece's eurozone partners and international creditors are heaping pressure on Athens to redouble efforts to stabilise its finances after it admitted last week it would not meet its deficit cutting target.
Greece's Socialist government has pledged to privatise and lease the equivalent of 50 billion euros ($70 billion) in state companies and property by 2015 as part of efforts to reduce its debt now worth over a year and a half of the country's output.
Venizelos said Greece would meet its privatisation targets, which include raising five billion euros this year.
The privatisation programme is to be monitored by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which bailed out Greece with a 110-billion-euro ($154-billion) last year.
The programme was supposed to have began months ago, but so far it has only sold a stake in telcommunications operator OTE to Deutsche Telekom.
The ambitious plan includes Greece selling off stakes in ports, postal services, power companies and banks.