COVID19: President unveils €4.4 bln recovery plan

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President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday unveiled the government’s €4.4 bln roadmap to economic recovery in the post-coronavirus era.

At the Presidential Palace, President Anastasiades presented a vision of Cyprus the day after the pandemic

The five-pronged plan is projected to add another 7% to the gross domestic product over the next five years and at least 11,000 new jobs.

He said the scheme would be funded through €1.2bn from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, €1.8bn from the Policy Coherence Fund, and €1.4bn from private investment or private-public partnerships.

“The ‘Cyprus – Tomorrow’ plan is a bold innovation, the necessary new development model for the day after,” said Anastasiades.

“It concerns a new version of the country. It faces the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, but mainly it is in the direction of the productive reconstruction of our country,” he added.

“We will turn the crisis into an opportunity.”

Anastasiades said vulnerable groups – the unemployed, workers, farmers and other disadvantaged – were at its heart.

The government will be putting European resources allotted to Cyprus to tackle the economy’s structural problems and the state.

He argued the greatest challenges facing the country is to be competitive and digital transformation.

Nicosia seeks to promote Cyprus as a country with high resilience, productivity, and competitiveness through a viable long-term development model.

Anastasiades said that the scheme would be based on core pillars relating to public health, transition to a green economy, competitiveness, the digital era, employment, education, and human resources.

Emphasis will be given on further strengthening and upgrading public and private hospitals based on the lessons learned from the pandemic.

The policy initiative will also promote reforms and investments linked to climate and energy, sustainable transport, and other environmental projects.

Strengthening the resilience and competitiveness of the economy will include boosting research and innovation through digital transformation.

Anastasiades said the government had sent several bills reforming Cyprus’ justice system to the House for approval.

“These bills are critical for the reform of the country’s justice system and should be put at the top of the list of priorities of the new Parliament to be elected.”

Plans to improve Cyprus’ tourist product are also included in the policy vision.

Part of the broader digital transformation policy includes reforms and investments to upgrade connectivity infrastructure and advance electronic governance.

The fifth pillar concentrates on employment, education, and human resources and will see efforts to tackle the lack of skilled labour.

The scheme will align Cyprus’ education system and workforce development with the skills required in the future, placing it among the pioneers in green and digital transformation.

The government also plans on addressing the skill gap by creating two technical schools in Larnaca and Limassol.

The scheme also envisages the modernisation of the social insurance system to improve pensions, overhaul social insurance services, encourage flexible employment, work from home, and create centres for children, adolescents with behavioural disorders.

“‘Cyprus – Tomorrow’ in its complete form, includes a total of 58 reforms and 76 development investments, including sponsorship programs to strengthen private entrepreneurship.”