President Anastasiadis welcomes the vote on the state budget for 2021, stressing, however, that he considers it “crucial, from today, to overcome the toxic climate of controversy created in recent months and to focus with a climate of consensus on the implementation of the budget.” , which responsibly the Parliament voted in favor “.
“I have no doubt that if, overcoming any political differences, we focus on the faithful implementation of the budget, we will give what we owe to our country and owe to the citizens who expect us to pursue creative policy,” said President Anastasiadis.
The following is the statement of the President:
“I would like to express my special satisfaction because with the adoption of the budget, our country finally overcomes a critical problem that has created political expediencies.
For the first time in the history of the Republic of Cyprus, we are facing a pandemic that threatens the health and lives of citizens, causing at the same time enormous uncertainty in the local economy.
It directly threatens the viability of thousands of businesses but also endangers thousands of jobs, making our vulnerable fellow citizens victims.
Instead of uniting, this situation was unfortunately considered by some to be an opportunity to strengthen their opposition role, by voting against the budget and leading the country into chaos.
In fact, it is doubly disappointing because the refusal to vote on the budget was not made because there were legitimate political differences, which AKEL invoked and of course I fully respect, but by proposing an issue unrelated to the government's economic policy.
For this, I would like to thank all those who contributed with their suggestions to the formation of the final proposal that was approved and prevented with a positive vote a new crisis in the country.
I am referring in particular to the Democratic Alarm, to the President and his MPs who worked consistently to complete this effort, but at the same time I thank EDEK and the Citizens' Alliance for Solidarity, the Platform of Democratic Forces and ELAM, which with the their vote helped us overcome problems and lead the country back on track.
The 2021 budget, as approved, sets out the main objectives of the Government and the views of the political forces that contributed to its vote.
The government's willingness to deal effectively with the effects of the pandemic is reflected in spending to support the health sector, support the incomes of vulnerable groups, workers, sponsorships and special support programs for thousands of companies, organized groups and organizations that total amounted to 2020, at 1.6 billion.
The same political will is recorded in the 2021 budget, with increased expenditures by 930 million so that development needs are not overlooked.
It is a budget that has been targeted and built on five major strategic pillars:
A. The continuation of emergency measures to support workers and businesses affected by the pandemic. At this point, I would like to point out that for the current month alone, the state expenditures for the above purpose, exceed 330 million.
B. The strengthening and consolidation of the welfare and support state. In this context, regarding the health sector, I would like to note that the 2021 budget is the largest in expenditure in the history of the Republic of Cyprus, representing 12.7% of the primary expenditure of the total budget.
In terms of the Government's social sensitivities for the protection of vulnerable groups of the population, their housing needs, and public utility infrastructure, the total expenditure in 2021 amounts to 2 billion 914 million, representing 37.5% of its total primary expenditure state.
Without going into details, I will give just two examples that demonstrate the Government's social sensitivity:
Firstly, the introduction of the Minimum Guaranteed Income in 2014 and secondly, the increase of pensions in 2020, so that no retiree is below the poverty line.
Now, no single retiree will have an income below 710 euros per month, while no household with two retirees will have an income below 1210 euros.
To note that this plan covers a total of 29 thousand of our fellow citizens.
C. The Budget of 2021, lays the foundations for recovery but also for a sustainable and dynamic development as:
– Incorporates the necessary appropriations of 634 million for the implementation of the National Recovery Plan.
– It further strengthens entrepreneurship with a budget of € 400 million for the period 2021-2027.
– Aims at green growth, with more than 50 development projects.
– At the same time, we emphasize our education with 1 billion 297 million, without ignoring the culture with expenses of 147 million.
– Includes the largest budget allocated historically for e-government and digital transformation, with projects exceeding € 140 million.
– Implements large development infrastructure projects totaling € 1 billion. Indicatively, I mention the increase of the development expenses of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works in relation to the previous period by 82% for the next three years.
D. The fourth strategic goal concerns the strengthening of our defensive armor. Taking into account the risks that the Republic of Cyprus faces in the context of strengthening the deterrent capability of the National Guard, the state budget for 20 21, is increased by 71 million euros, recording a percentage increase of about 20%. This does not take into account additional appropriations granted through the Supplementary Budget of 2020, amounting to 77m. euro.
E. The fifth strategic goal concerns the reform orientation of the country and includes, among others:
– Shielding of the Welfare State through the reorganization, modernization and strengthening of the Social Welfare Service and the Benefit Management Service, with the creation of the Ministry of Social Welfare.
– The reform of the Local Government, which radically changes the way the state operates, both at local and central level, for the benefit of the citizens and with savings of tens of millions of euros.
– The reform of the judiciary and the courts, something that along with the faster administration of justice and the strengthening of the sense of justice of our fellow citizens, will lead to the improvement of the competitiveness of the Cypriot economy.
– Modernize and strengthen the institutional framework for accountability, transparency and the fight against corruption.
– The promotion of the “Green” tax reform.
– The reform in Education including the implementation within 2021 of the program for complete digital equipment of 6,000 classrooms throughout Cyprus and the energy autonomy of all school units with the installation of photovoltaic systems.
– The strengthening of meritocracy through the reform of the public service, in relation to the recruitment, evaluation and development of staff.
I consider it very important to mention that the implementation of the above reforms that are necessary for the modernization of the state, will enable the Republic of Cyprus to raise funds of more than one billion euros from the EU recovery and resilience fund.
I have limited myself to a brief account of the most important provisions of the budget.
What I consider to be crucial, from today, is to overcome the toxic climate of controversy that has been created in recent months and to focus with a climate of consensus on the implementation of the budget, which the Parliament responsibly voted in favor of.
“I have no doubt that if, by overcoming any political differences, we focus on the faithful implementation of the budget, we will give what we owe to our country and owe to the citizens who expect us to pursue a creative policy.”