By George Psyllides
THE state broadcaster cannot be considered the sacred cow of semi-state organisations, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said on Saturday, a day after chairman of CyBC resigned in protest over the reduced budget.
Hasikos said the government did not have any choice but to impose cuts on CyBC’s budget, as it did elsewhere.
“Savings start from the top – government, ministries, state and semi-state organisations, down to Joe Public,” Hasikos said. “No one can be exempted from this effort.”
In his resignation letter, chairman Makis Symeou said it would be impossible for CyBC to continue to operate under its current structure with the reduced state assistance for 2014.
The state was cutting CyBC’s budget by €5.5 million.
“Instead of seeing how we can tidy up the organisation … he chose to submit his resignation. It is his right,” Hasikos said of Symeou.
Hasikos said CyBC staff know well that some people did nothing and still got paid.
“Yes, there are people who work little and are paid a lot,” the minister said. “A thorough audit must be carried out to see what everyone does, how much they get paid and whether some would have to leave.”
Hasikos said money could be saved from programming also, but if there was a need to cut staff then it must be done.
“Certain people should have thought about the overstaffing problem they were creating when they brought personnel from private sector companies with problems,” Hasikos said, meaning the previous administration.
Symeou said CyBC was not asking for more money or special treatment but there must first be a study that will look into its restructuring.
The minister disagreed.
“We say the €5.5 million must be cut immediately and a study done at the same time. We will not wait for the study to finish in order to proceed with the cuts that are required today.”