“It’s a joke” to say the government is replacing multiple pensions for government officials are being replaced by “tips”, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos said on Thursday.

He underlined he was expecting a productive meeting with political parties over the government’s proposals on the matter.

“This particular government is the only government which for the first time took the initiative to submit very specific proposals to end this issue in the last 43 years. The last proposals on the matter were submitted in 1980. Society sees this as a provocation,” he said.

He added that the government’s proposals have “undergone legal technical scrutiny” on the part of the legal service, and that they have received guidance from the attorney-general on the matter.

This, he said, “was done to ensure that the proposals we will table do not suffer the same fate as previous proposals, which, after much debate, were found to be unconstitutional.”

He added that he expects the government’s positions to be “subject to a productive discussion so we can bring an end to this matter.”

He said an actuarial study into the proposal has already been carried out and submitted to political parties, adding that “it is known that very significant savings will be made if the government’s proposals are implemented.”

Despite this, he said, the government’s “main aim” is not to cut costs, but to bring an end to the principle of multiple pensions.

“This matter provokes society, when people serve in public office and receive a pension at the same time,” he said.

Asked to comment on the audit service’s claim that the government “does not wish to solve the problem”, he said the government has confirmed with the legal service that its proposals are not illegal or unconstitutional.

We clearly want to resolve this matter,” he said.

The audit service had been less than impressed with the government’s proposal, describing it as “interesting that today the government and the legal service will explain to political parties why they are rejecting our recommendations in our absence and without any consultation whatsoever with us.”

They claim that part of the government’s proposal, to raise the pension age for officials who have already left their posts and those who are still working “for the portion of their pension they will have hedged by the time the law changes” is “unconstitutional”.

Additionally, they described what they see as oversight in the proposals “not dealing with civil servants at all”.

The government’s proposal had been announced earlier this month, with a source from the finance ministry telling the Cyprus Mail at the time that the current state of affairs “leads to some people … picking up four, or five, or even six pensions.”