The finance ministry is “examining and costing scenarios” for potential new measures to support people facing ongoing difficulties with the cost of living, Minister Makis Keravnos said on Monday.
He said the measures being examined are aimed at supporting society at large, and especially vulnerable groups, to deal with rising costs and inflation.
The scenarios, he said, had been calculated independently of last Friday’s upgrade in Cyprus’ credit rating, but added that “the upgrade certainly strengthens and encourages such efforts”.
“In any case, the finance ministry understands people’s sensitivities and we will respond to the problems which trouble our society,” he said.
He said the ministry “was already planning support measures for society to deal with high costs and inflation in general, and regardless of the upgrade and after the preparation of the budget, we continued to think and work on this issue.”
He added that the planned measures would be made public in due course.
“Various scenarios are created, they are costed, they are evaluated, and above all what we are looking at is not only to announce measures, but to announce measures which will especially help vulnerable groups and can also be implemented immediately,” he said.
Turning his attention to the credit score upgrade, Keravnos took the time to reply to his predecessor Constantinos Petrides, who said the government should be ‘modest’ about the upgrade and that it comes as “confirmation of the correct policies followed in recent years”.
Keravnos said, “I think after seven months governing this place, the [current] government was evaluated, along with what has been done before, and people have been convinced by this budget that we remain on the path of development and that we handle issues with care.”
He added that the upgrade is important because it would help the government to be able to secure loans on better terms to help the economy and society.
In addition, he said the upgrade “is an important message to foreign investors and investment companies located in our economy that there is an economy here in Cyprus which can absorb these investments, utilise them and develop them.”
Keravnos’ latest statements come off the back of quotes on Thursday where he did not rule out reintroducing subsidies on electricity bills and the reduced VAT rate on fuel.
He had said on Thursday that he “will not accept that the government does not listen to the cries of society”, and hinted at forthcoming measures to ameliorate difficulties faced by ordinary people.