Asked if the measures will disrupt the fiscal balance, Mr. Keravnos pointed out that he always explained the need to maintain fiscal surpluses
The government implemented a mix of horizontal and targeted measures, said Finance Minister Makis Keravnos regarding the package of 17 measures totaling €196 million, approved by the Council of Ministers yesterday.
Answering questions from journalists after the meeting with the member of the European Court of Auditors, Lefteris Christoforou, Mr. Keravnos rejected comments that he had backed down in relation to the implementation of restrictive measures, saying that his repeated statements indicated that “we are not a dogmatic government and that when we were talking about targeted measures, because this is the direction of the European Commission, I indicated that there is a horizontal measure being implemented”, referring to the zero VAT rate.
“Therefore our measures are a mixture of horizontal and targeted”, he said, pointing out that some horizontal measures “have a very significant degree of targeting”.
He referred to the subsidy for the increase in electricity, noting that there is a tiered subsidy according to consumption, which promotes energy saving, and that owners with large houses with swimming pools that have high consumption are not subsidized. Mr. Keravnos also noted that the vulnerable groups of the 08 tariff benefit from the subsidy of 100% of the increase. added.
Asked if the measures will disrupt the fiscal balance, Mr. Keravnos pointed out that he always explained the need to maintain fiscal surpluses. we feel the crises now also in our neighborhood, and the second reason is precisely so that we can make a social policy in depth and in an extent that addresses the needs of our society to the greatest extent possible, without ever putting public finances at risk ».
Saying that the Ministry of Finance is monitoring the developments in relation to the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Mr. Keravnos pointed out that the conflict in the Middle East has affected to some extent in the sense that in any extension of the war possibly to ban oil exports from Israel, from which Cyprus receives oil quantities.
“Therefore, a reduction in supply definitely raises prices and inflation. We must monitor all this with seriousness and responsibility and above all without populism”, he stressed.
Responding to a related question, Mr. Keravnos said that the conflict in Israel had not been weighed against the risks of implementing the 2024 budget, to add however that “we acted proactively and responsibly as always and our budget is surplus precisely to face unforeseen developments that affect us”.
So there is currently no reason to diversify to a significant degree.
Finally, when asked if, in the context of subsidizing interest rates for housing loans, the support of older housing loans was also considered, instead of only loans from January 1, 2022 and those concluded until the end of 2023, Mr. Keravnos said that we always start within the framework of financial possibilities us.
Pointing out that in the last year there were ten interest rate increases by the ECB, which created very serious problems for young couples who took out housing loans, Mr. Keravnos added that therefore from January 1, 2022 until the end of 2023 we judged to be the period to help home loan borrowers by subsidizing the interest rate by two points.
He also pointed out that for the previous period there is an interest rate subsidy scheme implemented and implemented by previous government.
“So everything has been taken into account and we have decided on this measure which is also targeted to help mainly young couples who are trying to acquire a residence”, he concluded.