Statement by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL Stefanos Stefanou, during his tour of Larnaca province
28 February 2022, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
Today, in the context of the tours and visits we make as the Party’s leadership for contact with the people, we have once again come the district of Larnaca. We will visit the Kition shopping street. Tonight we will address a Party rally and have contacts with people. On this occasion I complimentarily paid a visit to Kition Metropolis to meet with the Larnaca Metropolitan Bishop. In fact this meeting has been delayed, in the sense that it was postponed several times for other reasons.
I must say that with the Metropolitan Bishop we discussed issues regarding the charity work of the Church and the Larnaca Metropolis which is very important, bearing in mind that there is a lot of poverty and hardship. Many people are in need of support and I am glad because the Metropolis of Kition engages in intense charity work providing daily help to many people. And that is precisely why I must express my satisfaction and thanks to the Metropolitan Bishop for the important work he is doing.
In the Kition commercial street, we will meet with shopkeepers. We know very well that small and medium-sized businesses face many, many problems, which have multiplied because of the pandemic and price increases, which is not a current phenomenon. The high cost of living has been eroding family budgets for several months now. Tis is partly due, of course, to the increase in the price of essential goods and raw materials worldwide, but also, to a large extent, to the government’s inability to deal adequately and decisively with numerous issues. For example, electricity, fuel, cereals and dealing with cartels and oligopolies which ultimately leads to price increases.
It also has to do with activating institutions and tools that the state has at its disposal to protect consumers from profiteering. It is precisely for this reason that AKEL has been campaigning for a long time for the need to tackle price rises and provide relief to households. To help society and the economy to cope with this wave of poverty, which is expected to become even more acute because of the very distressful events currently taking place with the war in Ukraine.
There are no magic solutions, it is not easy to deal with the difficulties, but there are ways and tools. AKEL is not only a party that protests and reacts to policies, it is also a party that elaborates and proposes policies. We have formulated very specific, practical and workable proposals to help the economy and society. We have made them public, sent them to the relevant Ministers and government, but we regret to point out that we face silence and sometimes derision on the part of the government. But the government’s duty is to above all protect society. It also has a moral responsibility in the sense that a significant share of the responsibility for this situation is due to its own incompetence and unwillingness to address the problems.
Once again we call on the government to take on its responsibilities.
We will continue our efforts, both in and out of Parliament. We will prepare new legislative proposals to table in Parliament, just as we did with the bill we tabled for a reduction of VAT on electricity from 19% to 9%. It was approved by a large majority in the House with the exception of the ruling DISY party but unfortunately, the President had other plans. He sent the law to the Supreme Court and that’s where things stayed. But the prices continue to increase sharply. Therefore, the government must act.
Since it is clear that the economy will face additional difficulties because of the situation in Ukraine with Russia’s invasion there, we also need to look at how we operate proactively in a concrete way so that we can address the difficulties to the greatest extent possible.
AKEL is ready to contribute to this effort both with our own expertise and with our own capabilities. It is an effort that we must all make collectively and I want to convey this message. Namely, that we have the willingness and intention provided that the government thinks we are needed and we shall again be ready to help.

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