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Unpaid taxes and fines exceed €150 mln, House told

08 January, 2014

The inability of the state to collect unpaid fines and taxes exceeding 150 mln euros, tax evasion, debt ridden municipalities, overpriced medicines and the fact that the Auditor’s Office is understaffed were issues raised during a meeting of the House Committee on Development Plans and Public Expenditure Control.
The Committee, which examined the Auditor General’s Report for 2012, heard that the 150 mln euros seems to be a permanent number despite decisions taken during a discussion on this issue at the Committee providing for measures to help collect unpaid taxes.
Committee chairman George Georgiou said that these taxes have been due for years and will only increase as a result of the economic crisis the country is facing.
Tax evasion, he added, is a huge issue, noting that political decisions need to be taken by the government and that the House has a great responsibility in the efforts to deal with the matter.
Georgiou also said that another issue that needs to be addressed is the overpricing of medicines as Cyprus ranks sixth in the list of EU countries with the highest cost of medicine.
The worsening of the finances of the 39 municipalities on the island is also worrying members of the House. According to Georgiou, the Finance Ministry is on red alert after an Austrian bank which had lent a total 100 mln euros to 15 municipalities has demanded its money back.