Cyprus Mail

New bill seeks to help those with social insurance debts

The House labour committee on Tuesday discussed a new bill on helping those that owe money to the social insurance fund pay their debt in instalments and avoid possible prison sentences.

The bill was tabled by Akel’s Andreas Fakontis, Edek’s Elias Myrianthous and the Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis.

It aims at helping those who were not able settle their debts when the first such scheme was introduced in 2016 that allowed the payment of overdue social insurance contributions through 54 monthly instalments.

According to Fakontis, who is also head of the committee, of the 8,965 people who applied to the first scheme, 1,362 are still paying. Fakontis said that €50m has been collected so far of the €140m expected to be collected as part of the scheme. Fifteen more instalments are pending before the completion of the first scheme.

“Our aim, with this new proposal, is to give again a new period of time so that people with overdue social insurance contributions can pay their debt through a new scheme,” Fakontis said after the committee meeting.

He said the new scheme would cover also those who had initially joined the first one but for some reason opted out.

Fakontis added that the government is willing to reintroduce the scheme after the 54 months expire, in 15 months’ time, while the House would like a new scheme running in parallel to the existing one. He said those making use of the first scheme could be excluded from the new one.

The Akel MP said that people who are facing imprisonment due to accumulated social insurance contributions can benefit from the new scheme.

Myrianthous said the aim of their proposal was to give the right to those unable to pay their debt to join the scheme anew “because the problems caused by the economic crisis have not vanished.”

“Unfortunately, some people unable to pay are taken to court, many times to prison,” he said, adding that the bill proposal aims at covering these people.

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