Gov’t backs down from mu­nic­i­pal merger plan

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Cab­i­net ap­proved a bill tabled by the Min­istry of the In­te­rior on Tues­day that paves the way for the restruc­tur­ing of the lo­cal author­i­ties, but will not re­duce the num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, as had orig­i­nally been planned.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Socratis Hasikos said in a press state­ment this was an is­sue which has been raised and de­bated for years, it has been ad­dressed by the Troika of in­ter­na­tional lenders as part of the wider re­form plans and now it will be de­bated at the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Hasikos noted that the is­sue has been part of dis­cus­sions with all po­lit­i­cal par­ties and other in­ter­ested par­ties for two years, adding that the nec­es­sary con­sen­sus has been reached. He ex­pressed hope that the bill will be ap­proved by the par­lia­ment be­fore the end of the year. He said the ap­proval of the bill will mean more sav­ings and that all ser­vices for the cit­i­zens will con­cen­trate in one place.

The min­is­ter noted that the Coun­cil also ap­proved the in­tro­duc­tion of a uni­form tax­a­tion on prop­erty, to avoid mul­ti­ple tax­a­tion from the lo­cal author­i­ties and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

He added that the money to be col­lected for the prop­erty tax­a­tion, es­ti­mated at over 100 mln eu­ros, will form the ba­sis for the lo­cal author­i­ties’ au­ton­omy.

He added that “the num­ber of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the com­mu­nity coun­cils will not be re­duced,” how­ever the num­ber of the mem­bers of their coun­cils will be re­duced.

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