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Parties submit proposals for renouncement of multiple pensions

Disy, Annita Demetriou, house speaker, economy, conference

Disy and Diko on Thursday submitted a joint proposal which would allow government officials to renounce their multiple pensions.

The proposal would allow those appointed or elected to a public office which entails a pension of its own to renounce their state pension for the duration of their period in office.

The renouncement would be submitted to the finance minister of the day immediately upon the official’s assumption of duties, or, at the latest, within a maximum of 15 days thereof.

Once the official leaves office, payment of their state pension would immediately resume.

According to the proposal, should an official refuse to renounce their pension, the finance minister of the day would be duty bound to inform the House of Representatives via a letter penned at the end of the official’s first 15 days in office.

Officials would also be able to revoke their renouncement of their pension at any time with a letter sent to the finance minister of the day, who would in turn notify the House.

The parties’ proposal comes hours after incumbent Finance Minister Makis Keravnos had implored parties across the political spectrum to hold a “productive meeting” with him on the matter of multiple pensions.

The government’s proposal to resolve the matter is to replace the existing extra pensions with a one-off payment of a lump sum.

Keravnos said the proposal has “undergone legal technical scrutiny” on the part of the legal service, and that the government has received guidance from the attorney-general 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.

However, 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 added that the government “does not wish to solve the problem”.

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”.

This is denied by the government, who are relying on advice from the legal service.

The constitution plays an emanant role in discussions surrounding multiple pensions, as it is constitutionally stipulated that various high-level government roles, including the titles of President, minister, and House president, bring with them a separate pension.

Changing the constitution is out of the question, as that would require the consent of the Turkish Cypriot community, which has not had access to the government of the Republic of Cyprus since 1963.

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.”

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