The importance of the "Cyprus - Tomorrow" National Plan was highlighted by Government Spokesperson and Cabinet Ministers, who attended a special promotional event in Nicosia on Saturday.
In statements to journalists, Government Spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said that this is a plan of historic importance for the country, a plan made by Cypriots for Cypriots, "the legacy of the Anastasiades Government, a plan that will contribute to the transformation of our country into a digital, green state".
He added that it is a plan whose implementation started in 2021 and its completion will come in 2026, and within this period a total of 130 investments and reforms will be implemented in all areas of governance, be it health, sports, digital and green transition, education or employment.
He added that an amount of €4.4 billion consisting of European funds, as well as private investments, will flow into the economy during this period, with many benefits for every Cypriot individually, regardless of the population group they belong to.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said that "we should all feel proud of this plan, which will improve our daily lives and improve the infrastructure of the state for future generations." Referring to the health sector, in particular, he said that €74.1 million will be allocated to the health sector, for the creation of the new Makareio Hospital, dialysis units across Cyprus and e-health projects to be implemented by December 2024 for all citizens.
Also present at the event was the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Costas Kadis, who said that the plan is about recovery from the successive crises we have gone through, which should be done in a sustainable way and in a way that meets the needs of our own generation, but also considers the needs of the next generation.
According to Kadis, the Plan requires us to operate in an environmentally friendly way, with themes such as waste management, proper water management and recycling, modernization of agriculture, blue growth and aquaculture being included in the Plan's projects, while in total the Ministry of Agriculture has to implement 19 projects, four of which are reforms and the others are either investment projects or investments in development projects.
He also noted that since we are in a region plagued by climate change, the target set by the European Commission was that 37% of the Plan's budget should be for actions that directly or indirectly contribute to addressing climate change. "We have exceeded this figure, with 43% of the budget going to projects that have to do with tackling climate change," concluded Kadis.
Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Anastasia Anthousi said the ambition is to support through the Plan all vulnerable groups by creating infrastructure that places an emphasis on the family and the child.
"The Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare will proceed with the creation of 25 nurseries, in order to increase children's access to care and education services from the early stage of their lives and, at the same time, to help parents, especially women, to reintegrate more quickly into the labor market," Anthousi said.
Referring to the projects to be developed under the Plan by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Anthousi noted that in total there are 35 infrastructure projects, in which Local Authorities and NGOs will be able to participate through the State Aid Plan of the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare.
She also spoke of the Tuition Subsidy Scheme for Children up to four years old, which is already being implemented this school year through the "Cyprus - Tomorrow" Plan, adding that more than 6,000 children have benefited and that it is the first time that there is a cooperation between the private and public sector regarding childcare, with the participation of more than 320 providers.
On his part, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Prodromos Prodromou said that the Plan includes an important part for education, digital transition and a green future, with a total budget of almost €100 million.
Prodromou continued by saying that a number of investments are foreseen, such as new schools, two technical schools, the Apostolos Loukas Special School in Limassol, as well as a number of actions for the school of tomorrow.
"The plan is already in place to have by around this time next year 6,600 digital classrooms, meaning that all classrooms will be digitally equipped so that we can use digital technology in teaching every day," he said.
The Cyprus Tomorrow Plan also foresees support for primary and secondary school children to acquire a tablet and a computer respectively, with additional support for vulnerable groups. "The aim is for this plan to be truly for all children," the Education Minister said, adding that it is time for schools to adapt to the evolution of society and the needs of tomorrow.
He also said that the Plan takes into account the new pedagogical orientations, but also the needs of families, and extends free pre-primary education within the next three years from the age of four, a move that will benefit 8 to 10 thousand children and their parents.