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MPs agree to speed up before elections

LAWMAKERS from all parties agreed on Thursday to speed up work on a dozen bills – primarily relating to public-sector reform – during the current session of the House.

The plenum will convene for the last time on April 14 before the House is dissolved ahead of the May legislative elections, and ruling DISY has stressed the urgency of passing the bills before then.

During the customary meeting of party leaders before Thursday’s plenary, the parties agreed to expedite procedures so that the bills are processed and voted on by that deadline.

House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said some of the bills – all are pending before the House finance committee – could be channelled to other committees, such as the labour and ethics committees.

And extraordinary sessions of house committees would be held in addition to the scheduled ones.

Earlier, Averof Neophytou, leader of the ruling DISY party, wrote to Omirou pointing to the urgency of the matter.

A number of the items relate to public sector reform, in particular the assessment, entry, advancement and promotions, pay and transfers of persons employed in the central government and the broader public sector.

One of the bills purports to establish a mechanism ensuring that the state payroll is maintained at sustainable levels. Another introduces inter-departmental transfers, and a separate bill regulates the secondment of employees from the central government to semi-governmental organisations and vice versa.

But given the political sensitivity of the issue, it remains to be seen whether these items will make it to the plenum before the legislative elections.

Other major bills pending include changes to the immovable property tax (IPT) so that the tax is calculated according to updated 2013 prices.

Two items relate to the supervision of insurance and re-insurance companies, with the aim of harmonising with the EU directive known as Solvency ΙΙ.

Cyprus should have already harmonised with the directive, and has received a reasoned opinion – a warning – from the EU for its failure to do so.
Another bill pertains to the introduction and proper monitoring of financial leasing, designed to give people alternative ways of financing.

Speaking on the bills aimed at reforming the public sector, DISY’s Nikos Tornaritis said lawmakers should put their words into actions.

“We worked throughout the night to save the cooperative banking sector, and we should likewise stay up all night, if necessary, to pass legislation that will help combat corruption and nepotism.”

 

 

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