As the economy recovers, the government aims at keeping unemployment levels low to safeguard people’s revenues and roll out targeted policies including the introduction of a national minimum salary, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Friday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency a day after the island recorded the biggest drop in unemployment on an annual basis, Petrides said the jobless rate was a “very representative index for the economy since there are people behind each figure.”

“And this is why the fall in unemployment is very important, meaning that some of our fellow citizens have found work recently despite the pandemic,” Petrides said.

The government’s aim as it entered the recovery phase was to keep jobless rates low to safeguard revenues but also to advance other policies like minimum salary, he added.

The minister struck a note of caution however, regarding the uncertainty arising from the pandemic.

“The real impact of unemployment will show when the support schemes are terminated,” he said. “But we are convinced that with the course of the economy at the moment, unemployment will remain low.”

Responding to criticism from opposition Akel over the rise in fuel and electricity prices that has more impact for low-income families, Petrides said there was a rise in inflation in certain sectors worldwide that affected raw materials.

“Akel knows very well that this government has lined up the biggest investment in renewable energy sources to spare consumers of the cost of electricity.”

Petrides said it appeared that government incentives are being used in RES investment and that was why the government has dedicated a lot of funds in a bid to cut Cyprus’ links to international phenomena that led to higher electricity prices.