The head of the fledgling deputy ministry for research and innovation sought a curtain call on Tuesday, offering a review of its performance over the past two years.
Deputy minister for research and innovation Kyriakos Kokkinos, only sworn in in early 2020 after its creation, championed the programmes rolled out so far.
Chief among the achievements was the simplification and digitisation of government services, such as maternity allowance, sick pay, unemployment, taxation and others.
He stated that over 350 government services on the web have now been centralised into the single ‘gov.cy’ portal which is mobile friendly, in both Greek and English.
Kokkinos said at the time that the goal is to have “all the state services available on one screen”, while on Tuesday he said “the digital journey has begun, this journey has no end”.
Elsewhere, he emphasised that Cyprus now ranks above the EU average on the European Innovation Scoreboard, and rose four places on the Digital Economy and Society Index (Desi) within two years, although it is still towards the lower end in the bloc – having been in 25th place.
There are high hopes for the deputy ministry, with its budget of €117m in 2022, rising to €119m in 2023, shooting up to €157m in 2024 followed by a slight reduction to €135m in 2025.
It is set to play a major role as part of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience programme.
Kokkinos also pointed to the national research and innovation system which consists of over 400 startups, with more than 2,000 researchers, eight research institutes, 10 universities and seven centres of excellence.
The deputy minister added that parliament recognises the necessity of taking bold steps towards digitisation, as he thanked the government and the president for their trust and support.
Much of the deputy ministry’s work is to enable other state services to better function, such as July’s announcement that the social insurance offices services for receiving childbirth aid have been digitised.
Labour minister Kyriacos Koushos said at the time that: “[Digitisation] enables human resources to be freed up for their utilisation in more essential tasks, and most importantly, it allows the government to offer the best and most direct service to people, something which is a key objective set by the president.”
He added that a significant number of front-line staff can now be deployed elsewhere, where there is more of a need, while the cost of overseeing and managing collection operations is eliminated.