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Cyprus

Hiring almost 2,000 civil servants would be ‘a step backwards’

Harris
Disy MP and former finance minister Harris Georgiades

Hiring almost 2,000 employees to the civil service would be a step backward, opposition Disy MP and former finance minister Harris Georgiades said on Tuesday, a day after the House finance committee refused to approve the positions.

In last year’s state budget proposal for 2023, former president Nicos Anastasiades’ cabinet had said that funds were needed for 1,851 jobs in the civil service and broader public sector.

However, Georgiades told the Cyprus Mail that although the former government had made this proposal, the positions did not all need to be filled immediately as this would be a massive hiring reminiscent of pre-crisis times.

The procedure, he explained, is to get the approval of the finance ministry for the positions, which then goes to cabinet for further approval, and then to parliament for the final go ahead.

Georgiades said that the Anastasiades’ government had suggested the positions, which were approved, but that it was the current government under President Nikos Christodoulides that had approved filling the almost 2,000 positions.

“This is not satisfactory, when it is almost 2,000 positions,” he said.

He added that this was reminiscent of times before 2011, when hiring to the civil service was done in the thousands, which was unacceptable.

Commenting about his time at the finance ministry, Georgiades said that during his tenure they had managed to reduce the number of civil service jobs opening, which is why members of the committee were now unable to give the green light for this hiring.

“We managed to keep the amount [of people being hired] limited,” he said.

On Monday, the committee refused to approve the hirings citing that the government needs to show fiscal discipline.

“We understand that there are needs, we don’t disagree, we are ready to approve needs that are justified, but we disagree completely with the return to old times, when hiring in the civil service was done by the thousands,” Georgiades said.

Christodoulides’ cabinet had approved the number of positions during a meeting in April.

His supporting parties have been attempting to cast doubt on Disy’s stance, saying it was the Anastasiades government that had called for these positions in the 2023 budget proposal.

However, Georgiades quickly refuted this, saying that it may have been called for in the budget proposal, but the hiring did not have to be done all at once.

At their next session on Monday, the House finance committee is set to discuss the matter further in the presence of the representatives of the finance ministry and the civil service management department.

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