Rejection of the state budget would severely impact the health sector, depriving it of funds for covid vaccines and directly affect peoples’ daily lives with no exception, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou warned Tuesday.
The minister on Tuesday weighed in the debate over the state budget which Diko said it would be rejecting because the government refused to grant the auditor-general access to files relating to the island’s citizenship by investment programme.
The programme was terminated last month following a series of damning reports in the media, as the EU launched legal procedures against Cyprus.
“As the health ministry, we are frightened by the possibility of the budget’s rejection halfway through the health sector’s reform,” Ioannou said.
The minister said rejection of the budget would undoubtedly affect the government’s policies and have immediate effects on peoples’ daily lives.
Apart from being unable to make the necessary payroll transfers to health professionals, a rejection would also hinder the government’s fight against the coronavirus by depriving it of the money necessary for vaccines, testing, and contact tracing services, the minister said.
It will also force suspension of other vaccines and medicines, including for rear ailments, which are approved on an individual basis. Referrals of Cypriot patients to medical centres overseas for treatment will also be affected and development projects will be put on hold.
Ioannou said the list was long and the consequences will be felt across society.
“Those who will be affected the most in this critical period of uncertainty caused by the pandemic are the patients, especially chronic sufferers, and patients with rear ailments.”
The health ministry’s budget for 2021 represents 9.63 per cent of the state budget, up from 8.91 per cent this year. In money terms, the ministry is expected to spend around €1bn next year compared with €962m in 2020.