Cyprus Mail

Two more minor SGOs for the chop

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE CABINET yesterday approved a decision to shut down two more minor semi-government organisations (SGOs), the Licensing Authority, and Reviewing Licensing Authority, said deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos.

The communications and works ministry was authorised to implement the closure of the two SGOs.

The milk, vine products and potato boards were earmarked for closure last month.

At the same time, cabinet approved the continued operation of the Ports Authority, Scientific and Technical Chamber and Council for Registration and Control of Contractors.

Other decisions approved by cabinet include the decision to add 100 new places for undergraduate students at the University of Cyprus for 2013-2014 and 200 places for the transfer of Cypriot students already studying abroad, as part of efforts to alleviate the difficulties of families struggling under the weight of the crisis.

A further 481 places were approved for undergraduate students at the Cyprus University of Technology for the coming academic year.

The finance ministry’s proposal to reform the benefits system in the wider public service by January 1, 2014, was also approved. The reforms will include measures to tax the benefits of senior state officials and suspend the purchase of business or club class tickets for state trips abroad.

For the remainder of public servants and contract-paid employees, the reforms will focus on modernising the benefits available and reducing the amount of overtime offered.
The state hopes to make €31m in savings as a result of the above.

Cabinet called on SGOs and local authorities to implement similar reforms in their next budgets.

During yesterday’s session, the council of ministers approved a legal amendment of the Pension Law aimed at limiting the pension received by a public official following employment in one or more positions to half the salary of the highest paid position of the two.

The amendment will also affect the pension benefits paid for those who served as deputies in parliament.

Cabinet approved a bill setting rules in the appointment of the board of directors in the wider public sector.

Before appointments can be made, a list of candidates must be tabled at parliament a month before the term of the incumbent board expires.

The people on the list will be called to a public hearing before parliament which will be obliged in each case, two weeks before the term of the incumbent board expires, to prepare a report to cabinet on the suitability of the candidates.

In preparing the report, parliament will be obliged to take into account relevant academic or professional qualities of the candidate, their experience, knowledge and capabilities.

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