Ex­pen­di­ture, wel­fare pay­ments up 5%, says Fi­nance Min­is­ter

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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”.

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