The Olivewood programme to encourage the film and audiovisual industry on the island was on Wednesday extended for an additional three years.

At the same time, the reimbursement level has been raised from 40 to 45 per cent, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos said.

Speaking after the council of ministers meeting, Keravnos said the plan, aimed at promoting Cyprus as a location for film production, would continue.

He added that a thorough assessment of the programme’s data revealed significant benefits and that the number of Cypriots employed in the sector has increased.

“Furthermore, the government spent a total of €1 million for the programme, with a return of €5.5 million,” Keravnos said.

National investment agency Invest Cyprus began promoting Olivewood in 2019 in a bid to attract foreign film investments and boost local production.

Responding to a question regarding the issues raised by the audit service about the programme, which recommended reviewing certain key provisions of the scheme, Keravnos explained that the current film production industry and schemes “rely on external auditors who review all operations, and the audits are documented by a specific law firm.”

The audit service had exchanged barbs with the previous administration in 2021 when it said that the evaluation committee and the finance ministry had not enforced key provisions when assessing film applications, which could have been rejected otherwise.