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Government overviews achievements, plans ahead, Papadopoulos says (Update)

The cabinet has begun an overview of the government’s work with a view to continuing reform, deputy government spokesman said on Saturday.

After a cabinet session at the Presidential Residence in Troodos, Papadopoulos said “the regular session was followed by an unofficial one, in which the government’s work all these years has been overviewed”.

“It is great work, in both depth and width, with many reforms,” the deputy government spokesman said.

President Nicos Anastasiades and the government ministers exchanged views and commenced planning and decision-making on the policies to be pursued in future, he added.

“Almost all targets have been met with great success, beyond any expectation,” Papadopoulos said.

Asked to comment on how long into the future the new policies might span, given the burgeoning campaign for February’s presidential election, the deputy spokesman said that “the state doesn’t stop for elections, the state moves on”.

“Popular demand for reforms, for more prudent fiscal policy and economic growth is there,” he said.

“After laying the foundation and have achieved so much, reforms must continue. So the government plans for the country’s future.”

In addition to ongoing policies, Papadopoulos added, the government is planning policies to be followed in the years to come, “so that all that we have achieved is maintained and the economy does even better”.

In the context of this session, Transport minister Marios Demetriades announced a cabinet decision to operate more citizens’ service centres.

“We had made the decision to turn the Road Transport Departments operating in each district into citizens’ service centres, thereby improving citizens’ service substantially by offering even more locations,” he said.

“It was a policy adopted by the government from the beginning, to operate as many citizens’ service centres as possible.”

Demetriades reminded that post offices were also turned into citizens’ service centres, while construction is underway of three rural locations in Lefkara, Kakopetria and Agros.

“This way, the public can be served from several locations throughout Cyprus,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the cabinet approved a proposal for the owners of defunct hotels to maintain the properties’ building coefficients, provided they demolish the old units within 12 months and obtain all required licences for the construction of new units within five years.

“This was a measure all districts we visited had requested, so that defunct units are removed,” he said.

Asked to comment on the ongoing drilling by French giants Total in block 11 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Lakkotrypis said the company might be “slightly ahead of schedule” and results are expected by mid-September.

“But when [the results] might be announced, we will decide with the company,” he cautioned.

The minister noted that Italian company ENI, which has applied for drilling permits for blocks 3, 6 and 8, is awaiting the results before deciding if and where to drill.

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