A national fiscal package of measures to counter the economic consequences of the coronavirus epidemic in Cyprus goes before the House plenum for approval later on Friday.
The package includes more than ten bills aiming to act as the virus’ economic antidote, Phileleftheros reports. That is, boost the psychology of citizens along with their income, safeguard jobs and pave the way for business survival.
House members are expected to go to the plenum in a consensual spirit because of the critical moments the country’s economy faces, even though reservations were raised during Thursday’s tele-conference between party representatives and the ministers of finance and of labour.
Some amendments to the original package of measures were made to include proposals by the parties.
Most significant are the bills providing for the suspension of instalments to banks for nine months and the granting of state guarantees of up to €2 billion to banks for low-interest loans.
Amendments also include extending the suspension of Gesy’s increased contribution from April 1 to June 30 instead of the end of May as provided in the original draft bill.
At the same time, the bill seeks to withhold additional tax and interest on VAT for certain categories of taxpayers for the period ending on February 29, March 31 and April 30, provided that taxpayers submit their tax returns and pay their VAT by November 10.
Exempted from this measure are taxable persons active in the fields of electricity generation and collection and distribution of water.
Also excluded are grocery stores, supermarkets, fruit shops, butchers, fish markets, bakeries, pastry shops, kiosks, gas stations, computer-related stores, bookstores, pharmacies, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) and telecommunications companies and those providing internet services.
At the same time, another bill empowers the Minister of Finance to issue a decree suspending the filing of income tax returns for self-employed with accounts or liable for a tax return.
Two-month suspension for tax in arrears
In addition, another bill provides for the suspension of payments for March and April for debtors who are part of the Inland Revenue’s special repayment plan.
The repayment period is extended for two months and the bill also empowers the Minister of Labour to decide on sickness benefits, special leave for working parents, and unemployment benefits.
In the meantime, the government has withdrawn a supplementary budget sent to Parliament last week. And it has submitted a new supplementary budget of €369 million to be used to cover government measures of up to €813 million.