Cyprus Mail

You can’t have your cake and eat it, Hasikos tells MPs

Interior minister Socratis Hasikos

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos told parties on Thursday that they couldn’t cut government revenues and then expect it to expand social welfare policy.

MPs discussing the interior ministry’s budget, asked Hasikos to afford more funds for refugees and low income classes.

And this after hearing that Cyprus was the only EU country without state-imposed immovable property taxation (IPT) after they had scrapped it.

“How is it possible, parliament on one hand abolishing state revenues, like IPT, and at the same time asking for more funds?” Hasikos said. “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

In July, parliament approved a proposal tabled by Disy leader Averof Neophytou to slash this year’s IPT bill by 75 per cent and scrap it altogether in 2017.

The decision reduced government revenue to €45m this year, compared with €100m in 2015 and €120m in 2013.

As of next year, property owners will only pay the municipal property tax.

The tax was part of the island’s bailout agreement with its international lenders.

Authorities were also made to update property values used in the calculation of the tax. The new values were never used and the tax continued to be calculated on 1980s values.

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