Budget bill for 2019 to be voted on Friday

The House of Representatives will vote on Friday afternoon the State Budget for 2019.

The State Budget provides for Euros 5,457,370,805 expenditure, while the government amendments increase it by Euros 16 million. Total revenue is forecast at Euros 6,668,435,492. Total expenditure, including loans, is Euros 9,054,250,687.

A total of 48 government amendments have been submitted for the State Budget and various others by parliamentary political parties.

Presenting the budget last week, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades referred to a 13-point reform agenda for the next period, stressing that reforms should be a national goal.

The Minister had said that “promoting reforms and changes in the structures and processes of the state and the economy should be a national goal. The policy framework provides for 13 reforms, including the privatisation of the Cyprus Telecoms Company (Cyta), the Cyprus Stock Exchange and the State Lottery, the Local Administration Reform, the implementation of National Health Scheme and the reform in the insurance sector. He also referred to the planned reform of the governance of the Central Bank of Cyprus.

Already, the budget has the backing of the ruling Democratic Rally and the Democratic Party which pledged to vote in favour.

The government scheme Estia, totalling 33 million Euro, approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday to help debt defaulters repay part of their bank loans, is expected to be crossed by opposition AKEL, DIKO, Alliance, Solidarity Movement and the Ecologists to secure the written consent of the Finance Committee before the funds are released.

For the years 2020 and 2021, total expenditure is forecast at Euros 9,406,578,424 and Euros 9,096,771,268 respectively.

The discussion began on Wednesday with the presentation of the report prepared by the Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs, followed by speeches by leaders or representatives of the parties.

The Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs says in its report that the economy, based on figures submitted by the Minister of Finance, continues to grow, and that medium-term prospects are positive.

Source: Cyprus News Agency