President Nikos Christodoulides pledged to gradually restore shift allowances and overtime pay for civil servants by 2025 on Tuesday.
Addressing the annual conference of civil servants union Pasydy, he said efforts will begin next year, following discussions between the union and the finance ministry which have ended positively.
Christodoulides highlighted the aim is to transform the public service to a “more flexible, efficient and effective mechanism,” which will modernise public administration, utilising modern technology and rewarding employees based on objective criteria.
The president noted a slew of reforms would follow, including a new system for public service employee evaluations.
Similarly, the government is also working towards digital reforms and e-governance, where a number of tools will also become available to public employees to increase their productivity and improve the quality of services offered to the public.
“Digital reform in our country affects relations and exchanges between the state and citizens,” he said.
The government is also undertaking efforts to create new deputy ministries which will contribute to improving administrative functions and tackling long-term issues such as migration. The deputy ministry for immigration and asylum is at its final stages, Christodoulides said.
The president also welcomed the cost of living allowance (CoLA) deal while also stressing the importance of modernising the pension system, developing private funds and ensuring best practices in provident funds. To this end, Christodoulides said he will seek to set up a strong oversight mechanism.
“Maintaining fiscal discipline, broadening productivity across the economy and continuously pushing for reforms” contributes to boosting the economy’s competitiveness, he added.
Christodoulides stressed that any reforms must be through a human-centred approach, while also promoting investments and utilising research, innovation, technology and human resources.
Referring to the national Recovery and Resilience Plan and the long-term development strategy Vision 2035, the president highlighted that it includes reforms of the justice sector, extensive subsidies to businesses for digital and green investments, increased subsidies for research and innovation, tax reform, employee training programmes, better linking education with the labour market and improving the legal and institutional framework to fight corruption.
In relation to the Fit for 55 Package and green transition, Christodoulides pointed out that it has become clear that the reduction of polluting emissions by 2030 is a major challenge for Cyprus and requires significant investment and transformation of almost the entire economy.
Pasydy secretary general Stratis Matheou addressed the conference saying the reform of the public service is of critical importance for the union. While heralding changing the evaluation systems, he expressed reservations over discussions for interdepartmental promotions, saying this is a matter which much be further discussed.