Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides on Thursday presented the 2020 budget and Strategic Plan 2020-2022 which focuses on the island’s immigration policy, reforms and – above all – boosting development before the House Finance Committee.
The budget is expected to reach €569 million by 2020 with development spending earmarked at €219 million which accounts for 36% of the total.
The Ministry’s strategic planning covers a period of three years during which the total cost of development projects is estimated at €651 million.
Asked by critical MPs about sky-scrapers which seem to be mushrooming all across Cyprus, Petrides said the island is not turning into a Manhattan. And that buildings exceeding 20 floors are only 20.
Talking to journalists after the presentation, Petrides referred to planned development projects and said:
“We have drafted an action plan, we have prioritised the projects so that the most beneficial ones for the country were approved for implementation first.”
He added: “Priority was given to countryside projects, that’s why per capita expenditure for rural development projects is €1021 per person.”
For urban inhabitants, the per capita expenditure on development projects is just under €700 per person, he also said.
On the island’s immigration policy, the Minister said many more challenges will have to be confronted over the coming years because of the prevailing turbulent state of play due to irregular migration.
“More funds have been allocated on this policy, but I believe even more funds will have to be allocated in the coming years so to bring the situation under control. It is a modern challenge that not only the Interior Ministry but the country as a whole will have to deal with.”
As for bold reforms which also include those of local administration, he said this is a long-lasting effort that should be coming to an end.
“I call on everyone to contribute to this effort. It will also change the role of the Ministry of Interior itself, not just the role of local administration because it will lead to the local administration getting detached from the central state, that is the Interior Ministry” he said.
“And this means that the Ministry of Interior gets to concentrate on its strategic role which is development and drafting policy,” he added.