Arab Today, arab today cypriot parliament endorses first austerity budget after bailout
Last Updated : GMT 15:12:39
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Cypriot parliament endorses first austerity budget after bailout

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Cypriot parliament endorses first austerity budget after bailout

Nicosia - XINHUA

Cyprus' parliament endorsed the eastern Mediterranean island's first austerity budget after receiving bailout support eight months ago. The 2014 budget, which was passed by a majority vote at the end of a two-day debate, reflects deep cuts in public spending and a sharp reduction in government revenues because of a deep recession and growing unemployment. It is down by about 13 percent in terms of both revenue and expenditure relative to this year's budget providing for 5.64 billion euros (7.76 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue and 6.62 billion euros in public spending. A deficit of 1 billion euros will be financed out of a 10-billion euro bailout loan by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund. Reduced public spending and hypotonic investment are expected to cause the economy to contract by an estimated 3.9 percent in 2014, on top of a recession of 7.5 percent this year. In introducing the budget in parliament, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said Cyprus has managed to avert the economic collapse it faced 8 months ago. "A priority of this government was to avert the elevated risk of total economic collapse, our exit from the euro zone and whatever we built over the years being lost," Georgiades told lawmakers. Cyprus is applying a three-year economic adjustment plan which includes restructuring its banking system, reducing spending and privatizing its most important public companies, including telecommunications, ports and its electricity production. Georgiades told lawmakers the austerity program monitored by international lenders is starting to show results and added that the government needed to be fiscally prudent in coming years to avoid the adventures of the past five years. "We have to make sure we are responsible until we manage to regain access to the markets, until we can stand on our own two feet. That won't happen, however, if we follow the illogical policies which got us here in the first place," Georgiades said. Opposition left-wing AKEL party accused the government during the budget debate that it had bowed to the demands of its lenders and led the economy into a prolonged recession and growing unemployment. "When in government, AKEL managed within five years to destroy a thriving economy, shut the country out of international markets and lead it to the brink of bankruptcy," said Nicolas Papadopoulos, the newly elected leader of the DIKO party, the junior party of ruling coalition.

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