Cyprus Mail

‘Time is ripe’ for local government reforms, president says

The time is ripe to promote a radical and complete plan to strengthen local government reforms, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday at the Union of Cyprus Municipalities conference.

He added that the interior minister, the Union, and the political parties have all agreed that the conditions are ready to have the plan promoted.

The president said that the plan “will lay the groundwork for a new development model for the country, of which local government will be the basic pillar”.

The first way to bring change, the president said, is to increase the financial autonomy of the municipalities.

“You cannot wait on the central government and its financial capabilities to conduct the works you are planning,” he said.

Secondly, Anastasiades added the management autonomy of the municipalities needs to be strengthened so that funds can be distributed to the projects needed by each municipality.

Anastasiades said the third way to promote change in governance is to transfer authorities and funds to increasing employment in the municipalities.

Some of the municipalities also need to be unified, the president said. He added that the plans are based on the advice of experts and that it is necessary for some of the municipalities to be unified with others for financial reasons.

He added that there should also be a new model of management in the municipalities.

“We are obligated to reform the model of governance in the municipalities, so that they can do their job with sufficient results and less dependence on the central government,” he said.

The president said that 2019 would be a year of significant reforms to local government.

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