President Anastasiades presents work of his 10-year governance, hopes his legacy will continue
President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, presented on Thursday the work of his ten-year governance in the “Reorganization and Modernization of the State”.
He told reporters that the “Cyprus of Tomorrow” is his and his government’s legacy so that the country can continue, to strengthen and fulfil efforts to modernize and restructure in a competitive environment, to develop environmentally and digitally in social justice.
The President analysed five sections, with the first “a series of very important reforms and structural changes that relate to the proper functioning of the State”. The second concerns the “development of the rule of law”, the third concerns actions and strategies not only to modernize the state in individual policy areas but also to improve services provided to citizens. The fourth relates to great development projects on a Pancyprian basis to elevate the quality of life of citizens and the final section centers on everything that the Cyprus of Tomorrow plan requires for the complete reconstruction and modernization of the state.
The President said that the first section concerns reforms and structural changes in the functioning of the state. For this reason, he said they proceeded with amendments to the constitution so that every president will be restricted to two terms in office. He also referred to the creation of the deputy ministries of Tourism, Shipping, Research, Innovation and Digital Transformation as well as Social Welfare and Culture.
He also referred to the reforms for the effective operation of the state, securing productivity and the meritocratic promotion of civil servants, through the Civil Service reform.
He also mentioned that another important area of administration for a more efficient State is the reform of the local government sector, making local entities administratively and financially independent and self-sufficient, enhancing their capacity and ability to improve and expand the services provided to citizens.
Referring to the second section concerning the strengthening of the Rule of Law and the legislative framework to combat corruption, he said the findings indicated that the justice system remained bogged down by the conditions that prevailed during the founding of the Republic of Cyprus. In cooperation with the supreme judicial authority of the country, a series of measures and reforms were undertaken that led to the fundamental restructuring of the judiciary system of the country.
This included increasing the number of judges by 40% and creating special courts such as the Commercial Court, the Admiralty Court, the Administrative Court and the Court of International Protection. The fundamental reform of the justice system, he added has been completed and will come into effect from 1st July with the operation of a Supreme Constitutional Court, a Supreme Court and a Court of Appeal.
He also referred to three new laws that were approved and put Cyprus among the 11 European countries that have legislated for a strong legal framework to avert corruption. It includes the setting up of an independent authority against corruption, securing transparency in decision making procedures in the public and semi-government sectors, the so-called lobbying and the protection of whistle-blowers.
The third section concerns actions and strategies not only for modernizing and restructuring the state but also improving services.
President Anastasiades referred to the modernization of the education system, the creation of a modern, semi-professional army, while reducing the service of conscripts from 24 to 14 months, the establishment for the first time of a register of farmers, so that subsidies go to professional farmers, the adoption of housing policy plans. For 2022 this amounts to 125 million euros, depicting an increase of 100% compared to the 2018 budget. The government also provided land for 1.888 families to construct their own house.
Anastasiades referred to the establishment of a single Tax Department with the unification of the Inland Revenue Department and the Value Added Tax Service, the reorganization, modernization and full digitization of the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property, the installation of an extensive traffic camera system while subsidizing citizens who opt for green transition, providing more than 487 million euros for the energy upgrade of households and businesses and the installation of Renewable Energy Sources.
The fourth section concerns the government’s development projects to upgrade the quality of life of the inhabitants in every municipality and community of Cyprus.
The President also said that the State implemented development plans of more than 4.6 billion euros which have either been completed or are at the completion stage. These projects started in the last seven years since the main priority prior to 2015 was to handle the financial crisis and the economy to recover.
The final section relates to the reforms and investment activities of the “Cyprus of Tomorrow” plan, he said, which is his legacy to continue and complete efforts for the overall reform and modernization of the state. It is the biggest reform and development intervention; he added since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus through a framework of 133 measures of which 58 are reforms and 75 investment activities
The Cyprus of Tomorrow plan is expected to cost 4.4 billion euros, he added.
President Anastasiades said he faced many challenges and difficulties since his government did not enjoy parliamentary majority. He thanked Democratic Rally leader Averof Neofytou who managed to gather up the majority to overcome the problems and allow for the reforms to be approved.
I do not claim that mistakes were not made or that there are no gaps, weaknesses or omissions, said Anastasiades, adding that we dared, with structural changes and the confrontation of chronic and systemic distortions and problems, to lay solid foundations for further reconstruction of the State, which leads to the Cyprus of the new era.
Source: Cyprus News Agency