THE government will pass on to taxpayers any benefits deriving from the recovery of the economy, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Monday.
“If we continue on this steady course, this is our intention,” he said. “It should be taken as a given that the ministry of finance will be in a position to propose more relief measures so that citizens, employees, taxpayers will be able to experience more fully the economic recovery.”
Georgiades was speaking after briefing DISY leader Averof Neophytou and other members of the party on the economy and the government’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan for Fiscal Policy.
The minister said government policies were now bearing fruit and said that according to statistical data the Cypriot economy has had the fastest growth rate in the Eurozone during the first quarter of this year, and the third highest in the EU.
One of the first benefits would be the abolition of the special levy imposed on the salaries of public servants and private sector employees since 2011, Georgiades said.
Replying to criticism that the government has been announcing measures ahead of the parliamentary elections on Sunday, Georgiades said that in the past whenever elections loomed thousands were hired in the public service, increasing existing deficits which the taxpayer had to pay after the elections.
This is why, he said, the government was following a policy of gradual relief measures on the basis of the economy`s capabilities.
Replying to a question on unemployment, Georgiades said that establishing growth would in turn lead to the creation of new jobs and new opportunities.
“It is not by chance that the growth rate and the rate of unemployment reduction go hand in hand,” he said.
In previous years unemployment in Cyprus recorded the greatest increase rate, today it was recording the greatest drop, he added.
The government, the minister added, has been since 2015 promoting a strategy for easing the burden on the taxpayer “not due to the upcoming elections, but because our economic data and the recovery of our economy, make this possible”.