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Greece’s Parliamentary Budget Office report with a €84.3-billion error

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) predicted, Greece could be on the verge of bankruptcy again, in a couple of years. In its quarterly report assessing the Greek state budget for the years 2020-2026, the PBO said on Monday, that interests that should be paid in this period of time to creditors could bring the country on the verge of bankruptcy. Alas! The PBO used old data form 2014 and falsely calculated that Greece should pay 84.3 billion euros alone in interest rates! The claim prompted a respond by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and a ministry statement, the PBO corrected its predictions a day later.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) admitted it made mistake in a quarterly report assessing the Greek state budget for the years 2020-2026, saying it not included updated information that became available after its publication.

In its announcement, the office said among others:

1. The data mentioned in the most recent report comprise future assessments of funding needs for the repayment of interest rates during the 2020-2026 period, and were based on official data filed at the Hellenic Parliament in 2014.”
2. The above mentioned assessments did not include the debt relief that results from short- or medium-term agreements, which may possibly exist in updated briefings but were not available to the office during the drafting of its current quarterly report.

The PBO added it accepted the criticism, however, “that does not change the essence of PBO’s point of view, which is that if there are no resulting long-term relief measures and regulations that can free the Greek state from the traps of high debt, the viability of the loan will be threatened long-term, or even prove impossible.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos had told “Efimerida Ton Syntakton” newspaper that the PBO’s estimates were wrong because they were based on data submitted to parliament in 2014 by the National Treasury Management Agency.

In a statement the Ministry stressed that said that interest rates are floating and therefore the calculation of interest in long term depends on the method of predicting the interest rates.

How could the Parliament Budget Office make an error worth several billion euros? Efimerida Ton Syntakton is wondering whether the error was on purpose and claimed that the leading economist in PBO was affiliated to major opposition party New Democracy.

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