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Demands for cross-cutting of funds in Parliament are massive

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Demands for cross-cutting of funds in Parliament are massive

Eleftheria Paizanou

The Ministry of Finance has prepared a plan for the rapid release of funds that was crossed last December by the Plenary Session of the Parliament during the voting of the state budget for 2022.

The plan was prepared due to the large number of amendments that were voted in order to facilitate the process but also to save time and costs. The amendments crossed more than twenty funds, while cuts in spending on privatizations were cut, operating costs were reduced by 7% and staff training, conferences and seminars were reduced by 10%. and consulting services and research.

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An insert note was also included in 28 items so that the Parliament is informed at regular intervals. In a circular, the Ministry of Finance calls on the other ministries, the independent authorities and the government services, to submit collectively the requests for the release of the credits that have been crossed by the Parliament. According to the Ministry of Finance, the requests should be submitted in a timely manner and fully justified to the Ministry's Budget Department, so that after being evaluated, they can be forwarded to obtain the written consent of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance.

In relation to the funds related to consulting services and investigations and related to contractual obligations, according to the ministry, each service should collect the relevant requests for release which will be accompanied by a full analysis of the utilization of costs. In particular, decommitments should be divided into those relating to contractual obligations, ie existing contracts, as well as those related to new service markets for which there is an intention to call for tenders within 2022.

Rents and co-financed projects

Expenditure on embassies and diplomatic missions will be available by March, with the exception of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the release of funds related to rents paid by the state to house its services. In the meantime, from April to December 2022 for the payment of rents, a relevant request for release should be submitted to the Finance Committee. With regard to the items for which Parliament requires information, as indicated in the circular, the relevant departments should gather the relevant information required for information purposes. Regarding the co-financed projects, according to the circular of the Ministry of Finance, for the transfer of credits from the consolidated funds of the General Directorate of Development, to the budgets of each ministry, the legalized procedures should be followed. The credits of the co-financed projects should be distributed by ministry, sub-ministry and independent Authority. In relation to the evaluation of public investment projects, based on the guidelines of the ministry, it is governed by the law on Financial Responsibility, while a relevant manual was published. Public investment projects include fixed assets, ie buildings, construction, machinery, equipment, motor vehicles and infrastructure renovations and extensions. All public investment projects with a cost of € 2 million or more are subject to the evaluation process, including projects from European funds. A project note and a viability study should be prepared and submitted to the Directorate-General for Development by the end of April.

Recommendations for the purchase of services

Regarding public procurement, as indicated by the ministry, the purpose and spirit of the legislation is the purchase of services of limited duration for special cases, in which the existing employees do not have the know-how to implement the project and program. The ministry emphasizes in a strict manner that the understaffing is not an excuse nor is it acceptable for the conclusion of a service contract, adding that the work has a specific duration. It is recalled that the majority of the opposition parties proceeded to the approval of an amendment which terminates the employment of the associates of the President of the Republic who were transformed into employees of indefinite duration, at the end of the term of the Government. In addition, there is a brake on the increase in earnings received by the Director of the Press Office of the President of the Republic Andreas Joseph during his transfer from RIK.

They charge where they want

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance emphasizes that it has been observed that some ministries and services charge incorrect charges in various expenses related to overtime and hospitality allowances. Specifically, the Ministry of Finance, finds that overtime pay is not charged in the appropriate accounting articles but where there are available credits. In addition, other operating expenses should be charged to beverages provided during the official contacts of ministers, deputy ministers, general managers and meetings of various government officials. In addition, this category should include charges for hosting and paying for airline tickets of foreign delegations in Cyprus.

The settings for 2022

Meanwhile, the main arrangements included in the state budget of 2022 concern the renaming of the General Directorate of European Programs, Coordination and Development (EPSA) to General Directorate of Development and the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Recipient to Department of Registrar and Partner. Also, the Social Welfare services are transferred to the Ministry of Social Welfare, while the examination of the benefits of the Ministry of Labor is transferred to the Ministry of Labor, as well as the implementation of the revised resettlement plan in the occupied territories and the settlement plan for young couples in their occupied villages. In addition, the responsibility and credits for granting the special sponsorship to blind scientists members of the educational service, regarding the cost of accompanying blind teachers, was transferred to the Ministry of Education. In addition, the Judicial Training Office is renamed the School of Judges.

Instructions for collection of arrears

In the circular, the Ministry of Finance makes recommendations on how to manage public spending by other ministries and government departments. Specifically, due to the situation prevailing with the coronavirus and the difficult fiscal situation, the Ministry of Finance, with its circular, calls on the other ministries to make every effort, in order to limit the loss of revenue as much as possible. It also calls on them to take all necessary measures to recover the arrears. At the same time, it refers to the expenditure ceilings set per ministry, sub-ministry and independent service, which were included in the 2022 budget. of sub-ministries / independent services in order to avoid the submission of additional budgets to the Parliament “, it is emphasized.

In fact, the Ministry of Finance urges the ministries to emphasize the implementation of development expenditures and other expenditures, which will help in the reheating and recovery of the economy. It is also stressed that the implementation of the Recovery Plan projects is expected to significantly contribute to the acceleration of growth and the strengthening of economic activity. “It is up to each of us to utilize the available resources in the best possible way, in order to contribute to our rapid exit from the socio-economic crisis that has led us to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the circular added.

Source: www.philenews.com

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