Cyprus’ Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Friday that through collective effort the Cypriot economy got a second chance and that it is everyone’s collective responsibility to ensure that there is no return to past bad practices.
Georgiades, who was addressing the 16th Pancyprian Conference of OEKDY – SEK trade union, said it was his privilege to express his appreciation for the union, its leadership, its officials and the workers it represents, in one, as he put it, of his last acts as Finance Minister.
He had announced in March that he will step down by the end of this year.
Geordiades said that during his term of office his consultations with the trade union have been constant and he referred to the various decisions which have been agreed for the benefit of workers, which as he said fix long-term distortions, but added that it would not have been possible to make them if the Cypriot economy remained trapped in recession and uncertainty.
In order for the economy to be sound today, he noted, it took “hard work, toil and sacrifices” from citizens and “difficult political decisions had to be made.”
According to the Minister of Finance, no request, no need can be satisfied unless the economy’s and public finances’ robustness are not first ensured.
Undoubtedly, Georgiades pointed out, today our country is clearly in a better position, adding that instead of a deep and longwinded recession we are going through the 5th consecutive year of strong growth. Instead of having unemployment at 16.5%, our unemployment stands at 6.5%, which leads to a reduction of social inequalities.
Instead, he continued of having a €1 billion black whole in our public finances which made charges and cuts inevitable, we have a surplus of €1 billion which allows us to continue a policy of tax incentives and cuts, fund investments and go ahead with significant reforms such as the NHS. Referring, in particular expenses for public health are today at the highest level ever.
On the banking system, Georgiades made it clear that it was put in order not for the benefit of bankers but rather for the benefit of investments, trade and growth which cannot exist without a healthy banking system.
Through collective effort we have ensured a second chance, he noted. He added that “it is the collective obligation of the government and parliament, trade unions and employers’ associations to treat this second chance carefully and responsibly, without exaggerations, without narrow mindedness and without ever returning to past bad practices.”