Ge­or­giades urges MPs to ap­prove re­forms be­fore elec­tions

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Har­ris Ge­or­giades has called on par­lia­ment to vote on govern­ment bills con­cern­ing the pub­lic ser­vice be­fore its dis­so­lu­tion ahead of the elec­tions in May.

The Min­is­ter ex­plained that “the 2017 state bud­get must be pre­pared with this new frame­work hav­ing been granted”.

He said that Par­lia­ment must ap­prove a bill which pro­vides for the es­tab­lish­ment of Cyta Ltd, a gov­ern­men­towned com­pany which will take over state-owned Cyta’s op­er­a­tions be­fore a pri­vate in­vestor agrees to buy it.

The ap­proval of the bill by the Par­lia­ment is a prior ac­tion re­quired by in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors in or­der to ap­prove the fi­nal tranche of about 450 mln euros, but op­po­si­tion par­ties and their af­fil­i­ated trade unions are fight­ing to block the deal, at least be­fore the elec­tions and the loss of po­ten­tial vot­ers.

“There are a num­ber of bills that we need for the bet­ter func­tion­ing of the pub­lic ser­vice,” Ge­or­giades told a press con­fer­ence.

The bills con­cern a new sys­tem for as­sess­ments, pro­mo­tions and mo­bil­ity in the pub­lic ser­vice, as well as a new frame­work to link the state pay­roll with the course of the econ­omy.

“We need this regulation as soon as pos­si­ble and I think that the House should com­plete th­ese pro­ce­dures be­fore it closes for the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to en­sure that the 2017 state bud­get will be drawn up with this new frame­work in place,” the Fi­nance Min­is­ter said.

Ge­or­giades said that one last ‘prior ac­tion’ re­mains to be com­pleted un­der the bailout agree­ment be­tween Cyprus and its in­ter­na­tional lenders (IMF, ECB and EU Com­mis­sion) for the last re­view of the pro­gramme and that is “the bill which was sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment last Au­gust and reg­u­lates the es­tab­lish­ment of Cyta com­pany that will be­long ex­clu­sively to the state, in the first stage”.

“That’s the last prior ac­tion, it is not even the de­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of Cyta,” he said, adding that Cyta will pass to pri­vate hands “maybe within a year”.

“It is a per­fectly man­age­able re­form, use­ful and nec­es­sary, needed first and fore­most by Cyta it­self to op­er­ate with flex­i­bil­ity even if it is owned 100% by the state, rather than as an ex­ten­sion of the pub­lic sec­tor,” he noted.

At the same time, he said, Cyprus will con­clude in the best pos­si­ble way a suc­cess­ful pro­gramme.

“We want to send a mes­sage to in­vestors and the in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment com­mu­nity seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and prospects in Cyprus. We want to send a mes­sage to rat­ing agen­cies still mon­i­tor­ing us that in Cyprus not only have we dealt with the worst of the eco­nomic cri­sis but we re­main en­gaged in an ef­fort to pro­mote re­forms, struc­tural changes, pru­dent man­age­ment of pub­lic fi­nances, that we con­tinue our ef­forts with se­ri­ous­ness and with­out com­pla­cency,” he said.

“Among other things it will al­low the dis­burse­ment of the last tranche,” he con­cluded.

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