Article of Siana Kyriacou, Partner & COO, KPMG at Business Partners magazine
In the aftermath of the highly publicized, long awaited exit from the third program of financial aid, we are still waiting for greater things to come.
Our exit from the financial aid programs, was, by a large majority of the Greek public, held as the panacea for all our problems- the return to our former greatness, freedom to decide and incredibly, by many, as a return to the way things were previously.
It is saddening to realize that even after almost ten long and hard years, we have made no real strides, no gutsy, groundbreaking decisions and we are really no further ahead in terms of growth.
In a country plagued by unemployment, lack of any meaningful investments whether local or foreign, with a large number of our younger and talented brains looking not for greener pastures but simply for a way to make a living- the need for growth is a no brainer, and long overdue.
The only upside may be that the only way forward -hopefully- is up. But this requires bold decisions, changing the status quo in many cases and bringing about large scale changes and transformation both digital and cultural.
What we need is a national plan- one that transcends generations and political affiliations- one that we all, as a country, commit to and take the necessary steps to effect, otherwise these long years of austerity will be for nothing. We need to decide on our new growth model. We need to see how we fare against the global challenges that most countries face, and how we fare against the other players in the global arena, and lastly, we need to see what competitive advantages we bring to the table.
We need to run the country like a profitable business, with difficult decisions taken at times to ensure its profitability, sustainability and growth- not in number of employees- but growth in terms of public works undertaken, infrastructure upgrades, investments for technological advancement and in general, welfare and wellbeing for its people, as well as alliances.
We need to look at what other countries are doing and if we are not to ready to outpace them now, then we need to catch up. Potential areas of growth include upscale services (including in tourism), and other areas such as shared services, and in logistics. There are opportunities in branding ourselves as a health care destination with even perhaps a retirement destination element included. In addition, technological developments in agricultural, and sustainable energy resources could be another direction for growth, and as a way to reclaim our position as prominent manufacturers and exporters.
In addition, we need to monitor and act proactively in all matters affecting Greece geopolitically, not only in matters that have to do with migration due to conflict, or conflicts with neighbors but also on issues stemming from environmental changes such as migration, both inbound but also potentially outbound, due to the loss of working habitat, restrictions imposed by new product regulation or material supply chains, as well as the impact of a significant deterioration in customer sentiment over a product or company.
Lastly, we need to earn investors’ trust and take significant steps to disassociate the country from reputational and regulatory risks, and to make Greece a favorable investment destination for both locals and foreigners alike. Trust can only be earned by clarity, consistency, and a clear declaration of commitment to obedience to the rules and by the swift indiscriminate attribution of justice where required, for all.
And if I have not been clear enough, and to summarize in one word, the new growth model is investments, investments, investments!
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