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PEO criticises government ‘inactivity’ over price increases

Despite the government’s attempts to gather proposals to tackle rising prices and inflation, some are already expressing their discontent over the expected outcome and point fingers at the government’s lack of action.

Measures proposed to reduce the impact of price increases will be brought before cabinet for approval this week, following a meeting last Friday with the president, ministers and others to address the impact of the economic crisis from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After the meeting, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said officials examined measures already taken and additional horizontal and targeted measures that could be adopted for vulnerable population groups. They also examined recommendations by the fiscal council and the competitiveness council.

Further meetings will be held this week by the finance minister, Pelekanos said, to examine additional measures to be proposed for approval by cabinet next Friday.

But responding to the meeting’s outcome, PEO’s trade union general secretary Sotiroula Charalambous told CyBC of her disappointment.

“An endless dialogue is currently taking place. We are disappointed by Friday’s meeting results…dialogue must come to an end and decisions be taken at some point,” she said

“We are already late,” Charalambous added referring to what she described as the government’s current lack of action.

PEO’s recommendations include – among other things – the reduction of the VAT on electricity to 9 per cent for as long as the increased prices persist, the provision of a special rate on electricity bills to low-income pensioners, the continuation of the cost of living allowance (Cola) and to widen its to cover all workers, the abolition of double taxation on fuel, the potential imposition of a price ceiling on basic goods such as fuels and cereal.

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting on Friday Pelekanos had said that further discussions will take place before decisions are made.

“We have discussed all measures available at our disposal as well as the recommendations proposed by social partners, political parties, the economy council, and the fiscal council. A series of discussions will follow in the coming days to present a comprehensive approach to the council of ministers,” he said.

“The ministry of finance has already made an assessment. During today’s meeting all the proposals were analysed therefore it will take some time for the ministry and those cooperating to further analyse the situation in depth,” he added.

“We have not calculated the cost for each measure, but we know based on the state’s revenues that there is leeway for action,” said Charalambous, commenting on the state’s ability to implement PEO’s suggested measures.

 

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