Cyprus Mail

Solidarity fund proposal remains vague

LEGISLATION governing the creation of a solidarity fund will be discussed by the House plenum on Thursday although it does not as yet specify how money would be raised and who would benefit.

For 2014 the fund will operate through contributions, aiming to bolster government programmes concerning employment and social cohesion.

Acting Finance Committee chairman, DIKO MP Angelos Votsis, said it should not be a proposal that cannot be implemented.

“We think that by approving this law we will be obliged to find the way to make it work inside 2014,” Votsis said.

MPs had rejected a finance ministry proposal to include it in the state budget to avoid creating a separate fund that would need a managing committee and additional expenses.

The ministry said that including it in the budget would get international lenders involved as it affected revenues and expenses.

Votsis said the committee thought it should proceed with the creation of the fund without involving the budget and international lenders.

It was not expected to burden the government with high operational expenses since it would be set for just one year, Votsis said.

DISY MP Prodromos Prodromou said the aim was to create the fund through an extraordinary contribution and the idea was to tap all incomes – salaries or income that came from other sources.

More than a year ago, the Demetris Christofias administration also introduced a ‘temporary contribution’ from those earning more than €1,200 a month, which is still being cut from paychecks.

On behalf of public service union PASYDY, Andrew Lucas predictably requested that any cuts and contributions be made based on the principle of universality, and not only from the public sector employees.

He also brought up the issue of the existing 4.0 per cent levy.

On behalf of the PEO union former labour minister Sotoroulla Charalambous said the bulk of the fund should not come from the workers but from other sources, while SEK’s Nicos Moiseos said the entire proposal was vague.

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