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Hopes up for last-minute reform push

16/02/2016 06:13
The parliament plans to engage in an ambivalent last-minute effort to rescue two major reforms bills regarding the privatization of Cyta and the reform of the public sector.

The parliamentary committee of finance will discuss the reform bills and aim to enact them before the expiration of the current parliament’s term on April 14.

One set of bills relates to the establishment of Cyta Ltd and to the status of its employees after its privatization.

The other set relates to mechanisms for controlling pay increases for public sector employees as well as for the annual assessment, hiring and promotion.

According to the centrist DIKO MP and deputy chairman of the parliamentary finance committee Aggelos Votsis, the committee has examined a large number of budgets and Cyta bills will be discussed next Monday.

The Cyta unions asked the current parliament to take a vote on the bills, in hope that they will be rejected before the new parliament takes over in June.

Mr Votsis did not rule out the possibility that the reform bills for the public sector will also be forwarded to the House plenary for a vote before its dissolution.

Both the privatization and the public sector reform are considered important by the government, which wants to send the right signals to international investors, ahead of its exit from the economic adjustment program.

The government thinks that the two reforms will help Cyprus regain its investment-grade rating by the three major rating agencies.

Government sources express concern about the prospect of exiting the program and potentially losing eligibility for the ECB’s QE program.

According to a government official, in case the public sector reform does not go through, the government is considering to extend the salary freeze in the public sector for another year.

There are also thoughts for suspending government plans for tax reductions and for the abolition of the special levy on private and public sector employees.