2024 Cyprus State Budget Focuses on Sustainable Growth Amid Economic Slowdown

2024 Cyprus State Budget Focuses on Sustainable Growth Amid Economic Slowdown

2023 Growth Projection Revised From 2.8% To 2.6%

Finance Minister Makis Keravnos revealed key features of the 2024 state budget, set to be presented to the Council of Ministers next week. Amid global economic challenges due to rising interest rates and persistent uncertainties, the upcoming budget emphasizes:

A. Promoting developmental projects aligned with the national Recovery and Resilience Plan.

B. Containing the escalating public wage bill and employment.

C. Ensuring a surplus to meet Cyprus' EU obligations and maintain sustainable economic growth.

Keravnos adjusted the 2023 growth projection from 2.8% to 2.6% of GDP. However, he anticipates a boost to around 2.9% in 2024. While recognizing the considerable global and European economic uncertainties, with the EU economy potentially approaching a recession, Keravnos remains hopeful. He emphasized the budget's intent to navigate these challenges, ensuring sustained growth.

He also noted Cyprus' plan to apply for the next disbursements of its Recovery and Resilience Plan by the end of 2023. Keravnos urged everyone to work efficiently and productively, ensuring the economy remains on a stable trajectory.

Following a notable 5.6% growth in 2022, Cyprus' economic growth rate slowed to 2.75% in the first half of the current year.

Gender-Responsive Budgeting

The Cypriot Platform for Gender-Responsive Budgeting recently met with Makis Keravnos, to urge the integration of gender-responsive budgeting into the national budget.

According to their statement, during the meeting, representatives of the Platform asked the Minister to consider alternative solutions to address ongoing challenges. They emphasized the importance of gender-responsive budgeting, a measure endorsed by global institutions.

The representatives pointed out that Cyprus has signed various international agreements that encourage countries to adopt this approach. They also highlighted its inclusion among the electoral commitments of President Christodoulides. Furthermore, they stressed that such reform would promote resource efficiency, equitable state resource allocation, transparency, anti-corruption, gender equality, and subsequently, overall growth and prosperity.

The Platform representatives also requested the Minister to inform ministries about the commencement of this initiative, suggesting the establishment of specialized teams in each ministry. These teams would closely collaborate with gender integration groups to optimize results.

Moreover, they proposed launching training seminars for officials, starting with the Finance Ministry, to set a positive example. The aim is to equip them with the necessary knowledge for successful implementation of the reform.

Additionally, the Platform called for a dedicated budget allocation in 2024 for this reform and advocated for the incorporation of gender aspects by the Statistical Service, emphasizing the need for accurate data in formulating an effective budget.

Lastly, they sought the inclusion of the Cypriot Platform for Gender-Responsive Budgeting in the committee reviewing tax system reforms. They argued that taxes are directly linked to a fairer distribution of public resources.