NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Facing firm demands from the European Union and financial markets to cut its deficit, Greece announced cost-cutting measures Wednesday that will save the debt-challenged country €4.8 billion, $6.53 billion, this year.
The Greek government plans to cut civil service workers' entitlements by 12%. This includes a 30% decrease in holiday bonus payments, according to The Wall Street Journal's online edition. Officials also said civil service pensions will be frozen for the year.
To increase revenue, the Greek government said it will raise the value-added tax to 21% from 19% on items including clothing and footwear. Sales tax on food and medicine will rise to 10% from 9% and the tax rate on printed products will increase to 5% from 4.5%.
The country will boost the tax on alcohol by 20% and raise the tax on tobacco to 65% from 63%. Taxes on gasoline prices will be hiked by €0.08 per liter.
Officials expect the measures will reduce Greece's budget deficit to 8.7% of the country's gross domestic product this year from a level of 12.7% last year, according to the report. The European Union had given Greece until March 16 to show it is making progress in cutting its deficit from more than four times the allowed level.
Umbrella union for civil servants ADEDY is already speaking out against the measures and has called for a 24-hour general strike on March 16, said the Journal.
In a speech to parliament Tuesday, Greek prime minister George Papandreou said the country risks bankruptcy if it neglects to find lenders to cover its €300 billion, $409 billion, in debt, the Journal said.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.60%||3.68%|
|15 yr fixed||2.73%||2.79%|
|30 yr refi||3.64%||3.72%|
|15 yr refi||2.77%||2.82%|
Today's featured rates:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said previously that the automaker would become "cash-flow positive" this year. But in a letter to shareholders Wednesday, Musk signaled that won't be the case after all. More
The jobs market is near full employment with 14 million jobs added since early 2010. Gas prices are cheap. Home prices are rising. The stock market is near record highs. So why does everyone think the economy stinks? More
Oakland-based tech startup Clef hosts dinners for the local community in a bid to resist gentrification and unite all types of industries that make up the city. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More