Opposition parties in Cyprus are putting pressure on the government to further boost the real economy which is suffering from the coronavirus effects by providing state lending up to €2 billion.
But Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has told Phileleftheros that the government already stands by employees whose salaries are subsidised and that a public dialogue over state loans should be avoided.
“The government is already doing what (opposition centre) Diko is calling for, (that is) it supports employees by exploring all budgetary opportunities, including lending,” he said.
“Within provided fiscal margins, the government supports employees either through available liquidity or from liquidity derived from loans or through other means the government manages to have in accordance with the country’s capabilities,” he added.
Meanwhile, after the bill on state guarantees to banks up to €2 billion for handing out low-interest loans has been frozen, opposition parties on Wednesday continued coordinating action through teleconferencing in a bid to finalise joint proposals.
MPs are certain that the negative consequences of the coronavirus on the island’s economy will continue for months.
Main Opposition Akel’s financial groups are expected to complete their own framework of proposals on ways the state can raise revenue, how to allocate money and maintain the economy’s stability.
Akekl will forward proposals to the government paving the way for direct financial support towards businesses and employees. In addition, it will propose that employees are relieved of the obligation to pay social security and taxes.
At the same time, Diko believes that by the state’s lending from the domestic market the income of employees will be sustained since the prevailing plans by the Ministry of Laboir cannot cover salaries if the crisis continues up until June. Diko believes this is the way the real economy can be subsidised.
These proposals by opposition parties cannot be regulated through already tabled bills.
Ruling Disy leader Averof Neofytou believes that the state will have to continue implementing measures to support the economy and employees’ income beyond mid-April, at least up until mid-June.
In the meantime, even though debate before Friday’s House plenum on the state guarantees bill has been postponed, this will again be discussed before the House Finance Committee.
At 10 a.m. on Thursday, committee members will take part in a teleconference during which Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides and Central Bank Governor Constantinos Herodotou will brief them on additions and changes to both the bill and the decree on state guarantees.
Insiders did not rule out the possibility that the proposals by parties are put on the table so that the government officially responds.