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Call to reform semi-government organisations’ budget rules

House interior committee
File photo: House interior committee

House interior committee chairman Aristos Damianou on Thursday called for a restructuring of the rules regarding semi-government organisations’ budgets.

Specifically, he called for an end to the rule of “provisional twelfths” – a condition which automatically allocates a semi-state organisation (SGO) the equivalent of a twelfth of its previous year’s budget per month in the event that its budget is not agreed on time.

He made the remarks during the review of the Cyprus radio and television authority (CRTA) and said the delay in SGOs submitting their budget is “not acceptable”.

He pointed out that the CRTA’s budget was tabled on February 15, a fact which he said is “problematic”.

The worst offenders, however, are public broadcaster CyBC, who, he said “have not yet submitted their budget.”

“While the state budget is completed in May and not voted on until December, why should SGOs be handed the privilege of submitting their budgets in August and parliament voting in February?” he asked.

In response, CRTA director Neophytos Epaminondas said part of the delay is due to the digital service act, as, he said, Commerce ministry “assigned the role of national coordinator for the regulation to the CRTA.”

This law took effect on February 17, and, Epaminondas said, “led to a debate on the budget.”

Presenting the budget itself, he said the CRTA projects a budget deficit for the year and a 9.6 per cent increase in expenditure on last year.

He added that the majority of the CRTA’s income comes from fees paid to it by local television and radio stations, but that “should a station close, as happened last year with two Cyta channels, we will face a large deficit.”

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