Cyprus approves supplementary budget

Cyprus approves supplementary budget

The Plenary of Cyprus’ House of Representatives approved the supplementary state budget amounting to 361 million euros on Thursday, with criticism against the government’s agreement for the purchase of the Metropolitan building in Nicosia, which will house the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance. This is the second supplementary budget this year, following the approval of the first of €75 million, which was enacted into law in early April. The supplementary budget was passed by 45 deputies’ votes, with three abstentions.

The financial burden amounts to 0.85% of GDP, as €116 million represents intra-governmental transactions.

The main expenses concern €60 million for the payment of guaranteed minimum income in the second half of 2023, €60 million for the implementation of co-financed projects/grant schemes, €59 million for water purchases due to the increased cost of desalinated water from the increase in electricity prices, €56 million for a government grant to the University of Cyprus for the implementation of development projects (€42.6 million) as well as coverage of operational expenses (€13.4 million), €25.4 million for the purchase of the Metropolitan building, where the Labor Ministry will be housed.

Additionally, €18.2 million is allocated for the extension of the electricity consumption subsidy, €15.8 million for a state grant to the Cyprus University of Technology for the construction of student residences, and €15.6 million for the hosting of displaced persons from Ukraine and unaccompanied minors.

However, during the session, as well as during the session of the House Committee on Finance that examined the supplementary budget, criticism was raised regarding the lack of parking spaces for a ministry with 260 employees located in the center of the capital.

Harris Georgiades, a DISY deputy, noted it was not possible to secure a building with the required number of parking spaces in Nicosia. “We have been convinced by the explanations of the current government, which are the same as those of the previous government,” he said, adding that DISY will support the supplementary budget. “Our concern is for the medium-term and long-term course of public finances,” said the former finance minister, adding that commitments undertaken today will not be reflected in this year’s public finances.

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