Finance Minister Harris Georgiades urged parties Friday to back structural reforms and consider them a national goal that will change the country and maintain economic growth.
“Advancing reforms and changes in the structures and procedures of the state and the economy must be a national goal,” the minister told parliament during the budget speech.
Georgiades outlined a policy framework including 13 actions, among others, denationalisation of state telecoms company Cyta, local authority and civil service reform, the introduction of a national health scheme, tourism reforms, and insurance sector reform.
“What I have indicatively cited make up an ambitious but also feasible plan that will change our country if implemented,” the minister said. “This way we will maintain and expand the growth structure.”
Georgiades said current public finances allowed the implementation of support measures for vulnerable groups of the population and tax breaks and incentives.
He cautioned, however, that available funds were not unlimited.
“There are specific limits that we can and must manage in a responsible way. Not everything can be done at once.”
He told parties that everyone must pledge to continue consolidation efforts and avoid returning to the bad practices of the past.
The 2019 budget provides for a €250m rise in expenditure, to €7.9bn, against €8.55bn in revenues.