Cyprus Mail

Public wants more focus on health and education in ‘Cyprus Tomorrow’ plan

Photo: CNA

Education, the economy and health are the trifecta the government should invest more in, according to a survey of 1000 citizens in Cyprus.

Carried out as part of the state’s efforts to gauge public sentiment on the Cyprus Tomorrow plan, the findings reveal an overall positive view of the government’s handling of the economy, but the war in Ukraine has set back any hopes of recovery.

“What recovery? The crisis is only just starting, this war will destroy us,” one respondent was quoted as saying.

“Things are tough, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” another citizen responded.

The survey was carried out by IMR/ University of Nicosia and highlighted that 32 per cent of respondents believe the government should in invest in education to help the country recover.

This is followed by 30 per cent of respondents saying investment should go towards the economy and 20 per cent for health. Digital upgrading ranked the lowest on the priority list with three per cent.

Similar patterns but different figures were observed for the question on which areas the government should invest in to boost citizens’ welfare. Education, economy and health were the top three, with 28 per cent, 26 per cent and 22 per cent of supporting votes respectively.

Nonetheless, the shift from one crisis to the next, starting with Covid 19 to the war in Ukraine “led to citizens unable to realise – and consequently evaluate – the measures taken to help the economy recover from the consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic.”

Additionally, due to the challenges members of the public face, they focus far more on the “unfavourable conditions” of their surroundings, particularly on matters related to the increased cost of living, which worsened after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and the energy crisis, the survey found.

Recovery efforts from the pandemic are largely due to state and EU funds, citizens said. Looking ahead, the Ukraine war has created a cloud of uncertainty and people find it hard to gauge what tomorrow may bring, according to the survey.

According to the government last week, household and business schemes estimated to be worth over €48 million will be announced in the first quarter of 2023 as part of the Cyprus Tomorrow plan.

Funds exceeding €4 billion are expected to flow into Cyprus until the end of 2026. The plan includes 58 reforms and 75 investments, Two thirds of the total funding will be used for the green and digital transition.

The Cyprus Tomorrow plan is a combination of the €1.2 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan and the €1.8 billion Thaleia operational programme, which, based on studies, will mobilise another €1.4 billion in private investment.

The goals must be achieved to a set timetable for the funding to come from the EU.

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