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The invasion of Ukraine, the sanctions against Russia and the consequences they may have will upset the state's economic plans. On the occasion of the preparation of the framework for the reconciliation of the budget for 2023 and the medium-term financial framework for 2023-2025, the Ministry of Finance gives the guidelines to the other ministries for the line to be followed next year.
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As is well known, the conciliation framework is the basis for setting budget spending ceilings. The Ministry of Finance, in a circular dated 28 February, ie four days after the outbreak of war, emphasizes that the new spending ceilings should not exceed the spending ceilings of 2022. As it points out, government spending should be kept at the same level. , due to the challenges facing the Cypriot economy, including the pandemic, as well as the fact that the European Commission is expected to resume (rather this decision is postponed after the invasion of Ukraine) the implementation of the provisions of the Stability Pact and Development, with emphasis on compliance with fiscal rules, through the expenditure rule. As it appears from the circular, the risks that will arise for the Cypriot economy due to the Ukrainian, which may happen in the coming months, have not been included (obviously due to the time of its drafting), with other & nbsp; decisions of the Ministry of Finance but also after evaluating any relevant tools to be given to the Member States by the Commission to mitigate the consequences of the new crisis.
According to the circular, signed by the Director General of the Ministry of Finance George Pantelis, the proper preparation of the reconciliation framework is very important, because it will help the Minister of Finance to formulate his final proposals for the expenditure ceilings that he will submit to the Council of Ministers for approval. , taking into account the budgetary capabilities of the state.
The Director General of the Ministry of Finance calls on the other ministries to prioritize their priorities, taking into account the constraints or possibilities that exist in the implementation of their new budget and the new medium-term fiscal framework. At the same time, Mr. Pantelis states that the basis for the preparation of the reconciliation framework of 2023 will be the existing medium-term fiscal framework 2022-2024. Essentially, he points out, next year the expenditure ceilings should be at the same levels as this year, while for 2025 the expenditure ceiling should be at the same levels as the 2024 expenditures. exclude state payroll, policies, contracts and projects.
In detail, exceptions to the differentiation of ceilings can be the following:
The cost of the payroll. Only changes that significantly affect the expenditure ceilings of ministries, sub-ministries and government departments should be taken into account in calculating it. According to the Ministry of Finance, a significant number of new positions that have been approved and are not included in the existing medium-term financial framework 2022-2024, as well as savings, depending on the course of filling the positions, given that for 2023 and 2024 for all vacancies provision for 12 months (provision will be for three months of first appointment and first appointment and promotion for 2023, while for promotion positions the provision will be for six months). Policies that have been approved after the approval of the state budget of 2022, with decisions of the Council of Ministers, for the implementation of which an effort must be made through savings. Existing contracts or projects of large value, in addition to € 1 million, that have changes in contracts, such as bus contracts, maintenance contracts and service purchases. Projects that have been awarded and have significant revisions in their cash flow. Changes in projects and plans beyond € 0.5 million, which were budgeted but will not be implemented within 2023, due to the change of plans. For example, the project may be canceled and the project terminated.
In addition, the ministries should take into account some additional parameters for the preparation of the reconciliation framework. Among other things, they should take into account the co-financed projects, for which the managing authority is the General Directorate of Development (formerly EPSA), in the budget of which was included a centralized provision for the distribution of the relevant expenses to other ministries and departments. At the same time, competing programs that have already been approved, as well as rural development program plans, are included in the service budgets and should be taken into account in setting the ceiling.
In relation to the Internal Affairs Funds, a centralized provision has been included in the budget of the Ministry of Interior for their distribution in other services. With regard to legal entities under public law and government agencies receiving state sponsorship, the handling of this sponsorship should be carefully evaluated. At the same time, the ministries, according to the circular, should emphasize the implementation of the projects and reforms included in the Recovery Plan.
Beware of increases in raw materials
The Pantelis circular also indicates that due to the increases in the prices of raw materials, which affect the construction costs of the works, every effort should be made to include their increased cost in the designated ceilings, through rationalization and redistribution of existing works and policies. “It should be taken into account that in 2023 a number of existing projects that are already included in the budgets of ministries, sub-ministries, departments and services are expected to be completed. Therefore, only projects of the Recovery Plan and ongoing projects of EXANTAS should be included in the budgets and not any other new projects “, adds the General Director of the Ministry of Finance. Finally, the strategic units of each ministry and sub-ministry should evaluate the proposals of their departments, as a whole, and send to the Ministry of Finance only the significant changes, as during the preparation of the 2023 budget they will be able to redistribute the ceilings between parts, covering minor needs.