So­cial ben­e­fit pay­ments to rise in 2016, says Emil­ian­idou

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Labour Min­is­ter Zeta Emil­ian­idou said that the so­cial ex­pen­di­ture in the 2016 bud­get of her Min­istry marked an in­crease.

Speak­ing in a joint Par­lia­men­tary Fi­nance and Bud­get Com­mit­tee hear­ing, Emil­ian­idou said that from the to­tal of EUR 954.2 mn, which is the bud­get of the Min­istry, the EUR 892.2 mln or 94% con­cern so­cial ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing the Guar­an­teed Min­i­mum In­come ben­e­fit for low-in­come house­holds, pen­sion­ers and child ben­e­fits.

The Min­is­ter said that to­day, 13,000 fam­i­lies who did not re­ceive any sup­port from the state, re­ceive the GMI, at a to­tal cost of EUR 4.5 mln.

She noted that the gov­ern­ment has set as a strate­gic goal, be­sides tack­ling of un­em­ploy­ment, to re­form the wel­fare sys­tem.

The first phase of the re­form of the so­cial wel­fare sys­tem, which was the ap­proval of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries, is com­pleted and the Min­istry is pro­ceed­ing to the sec­ond phase which is to pro­vide care to those in need. She added that the Min­istry will also pro­ceed with the phase of ac­ti­vat­ing the unemployed per­sons by im­ple­ment­ing projects mar­ket.

An amount of EUR 27 mln that is not in­cluded in her Min­istry’s bud­get but in the bud­get of the Direc­torate Gen­eral for Euro­pean Pro­grammes, Co­or­di­na­tion and De­vel­op­ment con­cerns the im­ple­men­ta­tion of projects of hir­ing unemployed per­sons.

At the same time, she said that the Gov­ern­ment of­fers more ben­e­fits to vul­ner­a­ble group of peo­ple, such as the re­duc­tion of the cost of elec­tric­ity by 20%.

As re­gards un­em­ploy­ment, Emil­ian­idou said that in 2013, when the cur­rent gov­ern­ment took over, the reg­is­tered unemployed per­sons were 46,000, not­ing that the rate has sta­bilised.

In par­tic­u­lar, she said that in Septem­ber 2015 a de­crease of 10.8% was recorded com­pared to the same month in 2014.

To­day, the reg­is­tered unemployed are 41,723 and the un­em­ploy­ment rate is 14.7% com­pared to 15.4% in 2014. At the same time there was an in­crease in the em­ploy­ment rate of 0.3%, she added.

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