Finance Minister Haris Georgiadis in a speech before the House of Representatives on the 2019 budget called on political parties to support reforms of the Cypriot economy.
"Promoting reforms and changes in the structures and processes of the State and the economy must be a national goal," he said.
Mr. Georgiades outlined a policy framework with 13 actions including amongst others the privatization of CYTA, the reform of local government with a drastic reduction in the number of municipalities, public service reform, NHS, tourism and the insurance sector.
We have to make a joint commitment today that we will continue the effort
"What I have just mentioned is a concrete, ambitious yet feasible plan, that if implemented will change our country," he said, adding that "this way we will maintain and broaden our development structure."
At the same time, Mr. Georgiades said that public finances allow for the implementation of support measures for citizens in need, as well as the promotion of tax incentives and reductions.
However, he stressed that margins are not unlimited. "There are specific margins that we can and must manage in a responsible way. It can not be done all at once, "he said, speaking of demands and pressures for an unexpected increase in public spending, especially the wage bill.
"We have to make a joint commitment today that we will continue the effort, that we will not allow our return to bad practices of the past and that we will never hesitate to face difficult but decisive decisions with responsibility," he said.
For the budget, Mr. Georgiades said that he predicts a reasonable increase in spending by € 250 million, with total expenditure of € 7.9 billion and revenue of € 8.55 billion.
"And with this responsible planning and the outcome of our efforts, we are responding to those who are constantly seeing the fiscal derailment," he said.