Three measures to help boost economic growth were suggested by DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos to President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday, at a meeting between the two at the Presidential Palace.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papadopoulos said he had a “very useful and interesting discussion with the president”.
“We asked for this meeting so that we could present our proposals for the Cypriot economy and the lifting of certain injustices that were unfortunately imposed on the public through the economic-adjustment programme,” he said.
According to Papadopoulos, his party remains committed to finding solutions that will “take our people out of today’s economic impasse”.
“Among other things, we have proposed using 10 per cent of the country’s primary surplus over the next 20 years to reimburse those who have paid for the mistakes of others, such as bondholders, pension funds, provident funds, haircut depositors – referring to Cypriot depositors, not foreign ones,” DIKO’s leader said.
“We have also proposed that 2 per cent of the government’s budget to be used to create new jobs until unemployment has fallen below five per cent, and introducing tax incentives for companies that create new jobs.”
Further, Papadopoulos said, as an interim solution until the National Health System can be introduced, DIKO proposed that a tax break of €5,000 on health insurance spending per family can be granted, so that “the burden can be eased on those families that are facing health issues”.
“The president was kind enough to read through our proposals and discuss them with us, and has suggested that we take the discussion up with the finance minister, which we will pursue,” he said.
The full set of proposals tabled by DIKO at the meeting with Anastasiades was announced by the party later in the day.
It included the extension of the unemployment allowance up to 56 weeks, a ban on private-sector contributions to parties, independent audits on politicians’ financials, and the reduction of immovable property tax by 20 per cent.
Last October, DIKO had unveiled a three-pronged proposal to combat the mounting pile of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the Cypriot banking sector.
The proposal included committing banks to offering defaulting borrowers the right to buy back their loan at a discount, before the lender was allowed to sell it to a third party.
The second aspect of the proposal was the creation of an asset-management company, funded “in part” by taxpayer money, to take over and administer a “critical mass” of NPLs so that the threat to the banking sector can be neutralised.
Once more, a key ingredient of the proposal was the reimbursement of money seized from the public during the March 2013 haircut on deposits, for which Papadopoulos urged the government to turn to European institutions.