Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the EPWCF Administration, let me thank you warmly for your honorable presence and wish you, through my heart, any personal, family and professional success.
Mostly and above all, I wish Health to everyone.
Always the events taking place on the occasion of the new year are the same as the momentum of every beginning and the expectation that the knowledge and experience of yesterday will be exploited to overcome the mistakes and weaknesses of the past. The opportunity to try our efforts again with more positive results.
This powerful symbolism of Hope, how things can go better and more efficient for our country, but also for the engineering industry, we want to be our message for the new year.
Not because it is so in such circumstances. Not just out of good mood or because wishes cost nothing. And of course not, because the problems, the inconveniences have disappeared. On the contrary. We don’t disregard the fact that the crisis hasn’t been overcome.
Today we are here in the first annual report of our new Guarantee and Credit Fund.
We all know that the EPWCF was created in a particularly difficult period, in a particularly difficult economic climate and at a time when the whole insurance industry and the engineers changed dramatically, with the creation of the EFKA and ETEAEP.
In the whirl of the most severe crisis, EPCPF, in terms of our insurance rights and despite our fully justified and documented proposals, was absorbed by the single entity. A fund with a long track record and a contribution to the country’s social security system, healthy and without any state funding.
Finally, after the 6 months and 4 articles of the Insurance Law 4387, what we achieved was the birth of EPWCF.
Even though it was completely rational, it was neither a self-evident nor easy option, and it was a critical development in safeguarding the interests and sustainable development of the engineers and public works contractors.
It was the first and the most crucial bet that our industry has won.
For the objective observer, I have to point out the important contribution to the institutionalization, as well as the operation of our Agent, the Deputy Minister mister Petropoulos, as well as our Minister and colleague Christos Spirtzis, who today honor us with their presence.
The establishment of EPWCF, has benefited not only our industry but, above all, the Greek economy.
Because everyone recognizes that our industry is a critical factor, but also a multiplier of the real economy, which has been thrown up and pushed with loud tension throughout the crisis.
We have not limited, however, to the establishment of the EPCPF.
We realized from the outset the sense of urgency that our business has for the success of the venture.
Not just because many people wished us to fail to manage the assets of our members.
Not only because in the absence of liquidity the industry would collapse without our guarantee and credit role.
But especially because we deeply believe in the development potential of the industry and the prospects a fund, such as EPWCF, may have to actively support the work of our members.
We are totally committed to this.
The administration put a great deal of pressure on the government with a series of initiatives, contacts, meetings and letters to the competent ministers and the political world as a whole, the necessity of the immediate completion of the transfer of property attributable to EPWCF, in accordance with the approved economic study.
In addition, we have been prepared to carry out appropriate moves that will be required to ensure the value of our strategic, but also time-consuming investments.
We now expect the State, as we have responded to all the pre-requisite actions, to complete the implementation of its decision.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I come back to the starting point to determine where we started, where we have gone, and especially where we want to go.
The development, foundation and building are, moreover, the methodology of our science.
In the past year we put the bar high.
The first objective that was implemented was the founding of the EPWCF.
The second objective was to ensure the smooth operation of the Fund’s guarantee and credit from the very first day for a total of over 31,000 loyal civil engineers and contractors, combined in more than 6,000 Technical Companies.
And in order to have a sense of enterprise, we are talking about the successful management and approval of 50,154 new letters of guarantee in 2017.
Think in these conditions of credit suffocation, what would happen if there was no EPWCF.
This goal has become a reality – and believe it was not easy at all – thanks to the determination and productive cooperation of the Administration, the employees and, of course, the competent Ministry of Labor Social Security and Social Solidarity.
The third objective was the immediate transition of the fund to the digital age.
Just six months after its inception, EPWCF significantly upgraded its services.
More specifically, on July 17, the innovative digital subscription guarantee service was launched and on Monday, 1 October, we transformed our provider into an integrated digital service provider with the new e-Protocols, e-Guarantee and e-Validity services.
In this way, there is no longer a need for a physical presence of the Engineer at a EPWCF store. and on the other hand, it is issued in a personalized environment, with simplified procedures, providing significant time savings.
The service is continuously available to users, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Digital processing of requests also safeguards the security and transparency of the process, but also ensures the modernization and efficiency of the Fund’s operations.
Within a year the digital transformation of EPWCF is not a promise, but it describes the new reality.
And we are proud of this.
But back from the achievement of the central goals that I mentioned, there is a comprehensive and robust framework of actions that has to be implemented with method.
In summary, although it is absolutely essential, I record the grid of actions that ran since the enactment of Law 4387 on May 12, 2016:
Inventory of assets and approval of the statutes
Formulation and adoption of a modern, reliable and functional organization chart that meets the needs of EPWCF,
Establishment of an Investment Committee and Risk and Internal Audit Committees,
Establishment of Internal Operation Regulations and Economic and Accounting Organization.
Develop and implement with accountability and realism the 2017 budget, in line with International Accounting Standards.
Ensure the operation of our services through the 39 branches that are now under the SSSE.
Development and implementation of the Quality and Environment Management System according to the standards ELOT EN ISO 9001 and ELOT EN ISO 14001.
Already tomorrow we are certified by TUV.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today complacency and low speeds are dangerous.
We are facing a new, ever-changing environment with opportunities and threats.
That is why we have worked out an ambitious and workable plan to meet the new challenges.
The EPWCF enters its second year of operation in a manner that is adequate in terms of both its lending and lending objectives and the creation of conditions that will enable it to support its founding objectives in the long term.
Tools of great importance for the transformation of the EPWCF to a standard integrated service providers are undoubtedly the electronic services.
In this context, the Fund is proceeding in the next three months to rationalize procedures and integrate new IT services such as:
- Enterprise Resources System (ERP).
- Integrated Information System of Borrowers,
- Integrated Information System for the Management of Letters of Guarantee,
- Procurement monitoring
- Management of Checks,
- Fixed Assets Management,
- General Accounting,
- Property Management
- Electronic payments for all Fund transactions
- Online Portal for Providing Services to Affiliates.
The objective is to maximize the degree of completion of the procedures and operational standards of the Fund with the above electronic services in order to release the Fund from bureaucratic procedures, errors, delays and inconvenience to borrowers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In recent years, the way the engineer’s services are provided are aware of unexpected transformations both at a scientific and market level.
In 2018 at EPWCF we aim to assimilate the structures of the market for engineering services and to help our members recognize the right opportunities and new trends.
In this direction we started implementing projects that will give us the opportunity immediately to identify and compile the new assemblies of engineering firms, as well as objects with wider dissemination and probability of sustainability of new entrants.
We want and work so that the EPWCF can become a real assistant and supporter of the business activities of its members.
For 2018, our business goals are captured in the following actions we planned to implement.
- Completion of all digitized electronic services at the mobile application level
- the modernization and rationalization of the Guarantee and Credit Regulation
- Investigation of reinsurance of guarantees
- the extroversion and international evaluation of EPWCF through its participation in the European AECM
- Upgrading and further staffing of the Risk Analysis and Investment and Internal Audit Committees
- the digitization of the Archive of old written guarantees and their inclusion in the single digital system
- the development of special insurance branches of our borrowers in the fields of health and safety in technical professions and companies tailored to the risks of the profession of engineer
- Investigation of actions – NSRF projects for further promotion of credit and concentration of development funds.
At this point, it is worth noting that as of January 26, the EPWCF guarantees are accepted in the EPANEK programs, 2014-2020, for the advancement of the implementation of investment projects.
The goals are ambitious, but this year we will succeed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the same time, we exploit and further highlight the great potential that we derive from the Technical Chamber of Greece, our womb of birth.
With actions like:
- hosting, in our building, the largest technical library in the country, the TCG library.
- the promotion of modern architecture and the protection of the cultural heritage, with the emblematic building of the central offices at Klathmonos Square.
- the availability of the event venues – award-winning architecture – to the technical world for events and cultural uses.
- Establishment and operation of a scientific institute jointly with the TCG
Let me repeat that none of this would have happened without the decisive contribution of the EPWCF workers.
On behalf of the Administration I thank them warmly.
And, of course, I would like to make a nominal reference to the 5 former EPCPF / EBRD executives who chose to be our fellow travelers in this difficult but creative journey.
Our current account justifies everyone and we continue:
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize for myself the importance of the present, 1st report.
Ahead of you.
Because it records in detail and in a specific way what we have done – government and employees -. Accountability is not a grace but an obligation of transparency, accountability and a means of evaluating our work by our members.
It describes at the same time with the same clarity and commitment and planning for next year, being fully aware of the high demands of an industry that has suffered in the last few years due to the crisis. We therefore have to take advantage of every possibility and to support our work in practice.
And we have to move quickly and efficiently.
This is what the crisis taught us, postponing costs are unbearable.
But also because this mentality, recognizing urgency, prioritizing needs and working for the common good, is a prerequisite for finally entering a sustainable course of progress.
We need a new model, a Greece that creates, exploits its comparative advantages and stands worthy of international competition, a country that believes in its people, has a national plan and is committed to the actions and time of their implementation and confidently strives to overcome its goal.
In this architecture, we also want to add our own strengths and contribute to the construction of Greece after the crisis.
Our industry has shown that it has both the will and the skills to succeed.
We will make it.
Thank you very much,
Happy new Year