New recruits, purchase of defense equipment, pharmaceuticals and other healthcare consumables, social benefits and early retirement plan costs will be covered by the supplementary budget of €233 million which was approved yesterday by Cabinet.
This is the first supplementary budget for 2019. Under the Financial Liability Act the state can deposit up to two supplementary budgets every year.
Insiders told Phileleftheros that most of these additional funds will cover Ministry of Defense expenses. Specifically, a supplementary budget of €70 million will be allocated to the purchase of military equipment. It will also cover the recruitment of military personnel on contract.
In addition, an amount of €53 million will cover Ministry of Health expenditure for the needs of the newly launched National Health Scheme as well as for the purchase of medicines and other healthcare consumables. Part of this expenditure is already covered by the 2019 state budget.
At the same time, €25 million will cover the cost of providing support to residents of 110 mountain communities living at an altitude of over 600 metres. The overall cost is estimated at €5 million per year.
The state is also betting on the island’s audiovisual industry project known as “Olivewood”. This aims to establish Cyprus as an internationally acclaimed cinema studio.
The Government provides a targeted incentive scheme with sponsorships but also tax exemptions. This specific project is considered to be one of the best in Europe’s audiovisual industry. The supplementary state budget includes €20 million for the development of Olivewood.
Moreover, an €8.5 million budget is to go towards the implementation of a voluntary retirement scheme at the semi-governmental Cyprus Tourism Organisation. Following the re-organisation of CTO which is now under the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, a retirement plan will be on offer for permanent staff.
Finally, the supplementary budget will also cover costs of recruiting 377 teachers for the period of 2019-2020.