The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the 2013 state budget which contains the measures approved for the adjustment programme, agreed between the government and the Troika (IMF, EC and ECB), as part of Cyprus` application for financial assistance from the EU bailout mechanism.

The budget was passed with 51 votes in favour and two against-those of MPs George Perdikes of the Cyprus Green Party and Nikos Koutsou of the European Party (EVROKO).

Total public expenditures for 2013 will reach 9.5 billion euro, whereas the GDP will reach 17.5 billion euro, marking a reduction of 2% compared to 17.9 billion euro in 2012.

The plenary adopted a total of 27 amendments that were proposed by the political parties, 20 of which were tabled by DHSY (Democratic Rally) and DHKO (Democratic Party) and four by the government, including one adding 29 million to the 2013 budget which will go towards paying insurers of the Vasilikos power plant, that was destroyed in 2011 following the explosion at a naval base. However the amendment was crossed by the MPs so that a thorough discussion will take place before the House Finance Committee.

The government’s amendments also include amongst others, exemptions on the hiring freeze for the Education Ministry and the target of a 7.25% fiscal adjustment in the 2013 budget.

The plenary approved the amendments tabled by the political parties DHSY and DHKO which have an impact amongst others on the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) and the state hydrocarbons company (KRETYK). According to the amendments , the income reductions on the state sector should be extended to cover any organization that gets a state grant covering at least 50% of its budget. A further 64 million euro was crossed for the purchase of shares including the 1mln needed for the share capital of KRETYK.

Another amendment puts an end to the zero-interest loans granted to state officials for buying cars, whereas a number of funds including the transferring of state officials to and from abroad, grants for semi-governmental and the construction of buildings abroad were crossed.

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