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Plenum approves 2024 budgets for semi-governmental organisations

Parliament, House of Representatives, House Budget, House Plenum, Plenary
File photo

The House plenum on Thursday gave the nod to the 2024 budgets of six semi-governmental organisations, but ‘crossed’ those funds related to procuring services from the private sector.

‘Crossing’ a spending item means it is marked as pending until a representative of the affected public organisation comes to parliament and requests the release of those specific funds. MPs then consider the request and decide whether to release the funds.

The budgets approved on Thursday were of the Human Resources Development Authority, the State Scholarship Foundation, the Public Audit Oversight Board, the Fiscal Council, the Council for the Registration and Control of Contractors, and the Cyprus Theatre Organisation. The latter’s balance sheet comes to €6.5 million.

Lawmakers complained that out of the 43 semi-governmental organisations (SGOs), so far only 11 have submitted their 2024 budget to parliament.

To date, parliament has passed the budgets of just two SGOs – the Central Agency for the Equitable Distribution of Burdens, and the Turkish Cypriot Properties Fund.

Speaking on the House floor, Akel MP Andreas Kafkalias said this delay in submitting budgets showed the government’s “disrespect” for the legislature.

Meanwhile an amendment filed jointly by Akel and the Greens was defeated by a vote of 19 to 17. Under the amendment, semi-governmental organisations would not have been allowed to spend funds when the expense is related to outsourcing services to the private sector – whether the service is provided by an individual or company. These funds would have been ‘crossed’.

Instead, parliament voted through another amendment tabled by Disy, which ‘crosses’ these funds only where a semi-governmental organisation procures a service from private-sector individuals, but not companies.

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