The House plenum on Thursday gave the nod to the 2024 budget of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), but not before MPs tussled about the direction and the past of the semi-governmental organisation.

The 2024 balance sheet for the state-run telecom company provides for €501 million in expenditures and revenues of €412 million. Expenses on personnel payroll and benefits come to €148 million. Cyta is projected to post a pre-tax surplus of €23.1 million.

The organisation’s pension fund had a deficit of €75 million at the end of the year 2022.

Cyta spends approximately €15 million a year on electricity costs. The organisation is promoting a project that will see it attain ‘energy autonomy’ by 2027; this would be achieved by electricity generation through solar. The project will be implemented by its subsidiary – Cyta Power Ltd. But a final decision on this is pending.

On the House floor before voting on the Cyta budget bill, lawmakers dredged up old political disputes concerning the status of the state-run telecom.

Disy MPs said Cyta is robust, but only because the board of directors has put the organisation’s finances in order.

That comment drew the ire of Akel boss Stefanos Stefanou. He recalled that the former leader of the Disy party had predicted that Cyta had a “lifespan” of five years. Stefanou said that the previous administration of Nicos Anastasiades had brought a bill aiming to privatise Cyta– but that “thankfully” the bill was blocked by parliament at the time.

Stefanou said his party has a long-standing position that strategic semi-governmental organisations must remain under the control of the state.

In other business on the day, the plenum also approved the 2024 budget for the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC). It provides for expenditures of €2.39 billion and projected revenues of €2.1 billion.

Sales of electricity are expected to generate €1.3 billion in revenue.