Cyprus Mail

Budget debate sees opposition MPs lay into government

Akel's Irini Charalambidou

Opposition MPs on Tuesday laid into the government’s economic and welfare policies during the second day of the budget debate in the House.

Dozens of lawmakers took to the podium to slam what they called an ‘austerity budget’ for 2017, complaining of cutbacks in targeted welfare spending as well as on expenditures geared to boost economic activity in specific regions.

MPs also highlighted the lack of transparency in public life, citing non-meritocratic appointments to the public sector, as well as efforts to curb the auditor-general’s scope of action.

In her speech, Akel’s Irini Charalambidou zeroed in on a number of scandalous affairs that have come to light under the current administration.

She focused on the “fiasco” where police mishandled a tip-off from Serbian Interpol alerting them to a possible murder attempt on Ayia Napa businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis back in March.

The police officer in Cyprus who was dealing with the information from Serbia called the man believed to be the mastermind behind the contract killing, apparently thinking he was calling Serbian Interpol. This alerted the man who called off the hit.
Kalopsidiotis was shot dead in his Ayia Napa restaurant on June 23 along with three others.

The budget debate wraps up on Wednesday, and will be put to a vote on the same day.

Parliament is almost certain to pass the item, after two opposition parties – Diko and Solidarity – said they would join ruling Disy in voting in favour.

The budget provides for total expenditures slightly over €7bn and total revenue slightly below, and is projected to generate a fiscal deficit of around 0.6 per cent of economic output.

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