Expenditure, welfare payments up 5%, says Finance Minister
Finance Minister Haris Georghiades said that welfare payment and public expenditure are up by 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively, in the 2015 State Budget narrowly approved by parliament last week. In his first post-Budget comments, Georghiades said that although satisfied with the vote of approval, which will help in the efforts to reform and revive the economy, he has noted the concerns and objections raised during the two-day debate.
“We all agree that our economy continues to face difficulties and challenges. But let me remind you that we inherited a collapsed economy and today it is recovering. We still have long road ahead and we must also rid ourselves of bad practices and the mentality of the past.” On the criticism that the Budget should have more spending in order to encourage development, the Minister said that “as much as I’d like that a lot, this Budget is limited to the real abilities of the economy. Otherwise, we would have been repeating what had been done in past years, that is the need to raise taxes or the uncontrolled rise in public debt which would hamper, not encourage, our development prospects.”
He said that the increase in welfare and spending was achieved by reducing the public payroll by 3.2% and debt repayment costs by 12.4%. “Our approach is to create conditions of stability and confidence,” Georghiades said, adding that the aim is to try and soften the burden from the taxes imposed in 2011-2012, repeating earlier comments that “no new taxes will be imposed”.