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Cyprus

MPs hope to pass bill to support refugees before recess

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Lawmakers hope to pass a bill levying a tax on property transactions, the revenues from which will go to supporting Greek Cypriot refugees, before the summer recess.

The government bill provides for a 0.4 per cent fee on every sale of property in the south, the proceeds going into a fund managed by the Central Agency for the Equal Distribution of Burdens.

A public-law entity established in 1995, the agency operates the scheme “for the restoration of the pre-war solvency of owners whose immovable property in Cyprus is in the occupied areas.”

Following discussion of the bill on Tuesday, the House refugees committee said it planned to wrap up the readings soon, so as to take the item to the House plenum before the summer break.

According to committee chair Nikos Kettiros (Akel), had the levy been applied since February 2021 – when the relevant law was first passed – the fund supporting refugees would have gathered around €15.5 million by now.

The law passed last year provided for the levy, but as it did not specify which agency would handle the proceeds, it remained unenforceable. The government has now brought an amending bill to the law to deal with this issue.

The money will go to people who lost their homes in the north, as compensation for loss of use of their property.

 

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