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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

MINISTRY OF FINANCE: On Wednesday the final decisions on fuel and electricity subsidy

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ΥΠΟΙΚ: Την Τε ? καύσιμα και επιδότηση ρεύματος

At the session of the Council of Ministers tomorrow, Wednesday, the final decisions will be made regarding the issue of fuel taxation and the electricity subsidy, said the Minister of Finance Makis Keravnos, who in his interview with KYPE was in favor of targeted measures focusing on the vulnerable groups of the population.

In an interview with KYPE, which will be broadcast later on Tuesday, Mr Keravnos denied that there was any difficulty in relation to the issue of creating a special jurisdiction in the District Courts for bad loans secured by a principal residence worth up to €350,000, saying that the bill is expected to be approved on Wednesday and announced at the same time that “we must avoid populisms that offer nothing at all”.

Also, in view of today's protest event by the Association of Petroleum Storekeepers, Mr. Keravnos said that he had meeting with the Association, which agreed with the measures proposed and which concern increased controls at the crossing points by the Customs Department with publicizing the cases of violations of the green line regulation.

The measures must be temporary

In view of the end of the period of application of the reduced consumption tax on fuel and the subsidy of the increase in the price of electricity, Mr. Keravnos outlined the intentions of the government, saying that these measures are temporary in nature.

“Based on the data in terms of fuel prices they have fallen much further against the prices that were in effect in March 2022. So in every way it is justified not to proceed with these measures,” he said.

The However, the Ministry of Finance noted that “the government's permanent policy is to support the vulnerable groups of the population and this fact will be weighed in the discussion during the Cabinet next Wednesday”.

Noting that the Consumers' Association says that the current prices do not justify the continuation of the reduced consumption tax on fuel but the continuation of the support for electricity tariffs is justified, the Minister of Finance expressed his joy that the Association estimates that the prices have be drastically reduced.

“From there, yes, we will weigh in the context of the electricity subsidy through the EAC the vulnerable groups on how they will be affected and this will also determine our decision,” he said , adding that the government's permanent policy is for the measures to be targeted.

Pointing out that developments that affect the entire population, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, justified the examination of horizontal measures, the Minister of Finance underlined, however, that “today the developments are completely different and within the framework of the policy we are following for obvious reasons which I think is not necessary now to explain, a strict fiscal policy and a fiscal discipline, the measures must be precisely targeted at those who need them and when they need them”.

Increased controls at crossing points

Besides, when asked about the discussions he had with the station owners, who are complaining about the loss of revenue due to the occupations, the Minister of Finance said he had a meeting with the Association of Station Owners, a meeting that was held in a very good atmosphere.

He said that he informed the Association that the Ministry of Finance will proceed to take measures that mainly concern increased controls through the Customs Department.

As he said, the Department will intensify controls at the crossing points and where illegal transfers of fuel from the occupied areas to the free areas are detected, the offenders will be subject to severe fines.

He noted that incidents of seizures will henceforth be made public for knowledge and compliance to avoid such illegalities, adding that a third measure is to send warning letters to Associations with professional drivers informing them of the intensification of checks and the imposition of severe fines , while the possibility of leveraging technology will be examined to make the checks as efficient as possible, without violating the regulation governing the trade on the Green Line and the regulations of the two-Community trade.

However, Mr. Keravnos explained that the incidents, and not the names of those who violate the law, will be published “so that the world knows that controls are being carried out and even strict ones are being carried out and several cases are identified in order to reduce the willingness of some to carry out acts unethical not to use another sentence”.

When asked about this, the Ministry of the Interior acknowledged that it is not forbidden for a private person to fill his tank but trading is prohibited.

Expropriations: Yes we avoid populism

In response to a question as to whether there is a problem with the creation of special jurisdiction in the District Courts for NEDs, given the delay in the approval of the relevant bill by the Council of Ministers, Mr. Keravnos said that there is absolutely no problem.

“We are simply a very serious government that wants to seriously study the issues and not say slogans or slogans. The issue of NEDs and divestments is a story that has existed for at least a decade without being seriously addressed,” he pointed out.

Saying that the manipulations that can be done in this matter are closely monitored by the EU institutions, the Commission itself and by the rating agencies, Mr. Keravnos pointed out that “that is why we should not make moves without being thoroughly studied and to create other problems”.

As he noted, this bill will be discussed and the final decision will be made at the next session of the Council of Ministers.

Mr Keravnos agreed “absolutely”, as he said, with comments that possible approval of the proposed law before the House for a horizontal right of appeal to the Courts to secure a stay order would create many problems without relieving the borrowers of their obligations .

It was asked what problem was solved by the suspensions of sales that were imposed in 2020 and 2022 and he added: “On the contrary, it created a problem because with the suspension of sales, additional charges are added and they inflate the problem and at the same time they also inflate the anxiety of the of people, who suffer from this situation waiting for when the suspension will end and if there will be a new suspension and so on”.

As he said, everyone knows the problems that the horizontal and universal suspension of sales will create . “And when serious problems arise in the economy, the middle classes and middle workers pay for them, and we have seen this in the recent past,” he added.

Therefore, he concluded, “careful handling is needed and to avoid any populisms that offer absolutely nothing to the middle classes and the ordinary worker”.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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