By Stefanos Evripidou
THERE is no indication when the government will table the state budget for 2014 to parliament, said House Finance Committee chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos yesterday.
The budget has already been sent to the troika for a ‘check-up’ and the government awaits the troika’s observations so the cabinet can go ahead and approve it, he said.
Asked whether the finance committee would have to fast-track procedures to approve the budget in time, Papadopoulos said: “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” noting that the time period was still manageable.
He acknowledged that the timing of the tabling of the 2013 budget last year left very little time for parliament to do its work.
The DIKO MP said usual practice was for the budget to be tabled in parliament by late October or early November to give enough time for examination.
The committee would like to see next year’s budget as soon as possible so parliamentary control could begin, he added.
House President Yiannakis Omirou said last Friday that the state budget needed to be submitted to parliament as soon as possible for approval before December.
He warned that bullying tactics such as ‘vote tonight because tomorrow morning the entire financial system will collapse’ would not be tolerated.
According to the constitution, the budget must be submitted three months before implementation.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has previously pledged to table a state budget for 2014 that shaves €700m off state expenditure for 2014.
A troika delegation will be back on the island at the end of the month to carry out a second review, or score card, of the country’s obligations to international lenders, as stipulated in the memorandum of understanding signed with the troika.
It is believed the process towards privatisation of semi-government organisations will be on the cards when the lenders arrive.