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False dawn for the jobless

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The government announced this week it would go green, invest more in a cyclical economy, create 11,000 new jobs, and inject more than €4 bln in the stimulus package.

As ambitious and welcome as this may sound, it is nothing more than a pre-election effort to boost the ratings of the Democratic Rally and its cronies.

Some of them are deniers of the economic, social reality.

Unfortunately, several members of the Cabinet and the President have forgotten that they are serving the entire public and should look after the interest of all citizens, regardless of ideological differences, not just their friends.

It is why they have resumed their old tactics of blaming everyone else for the woes we continue to suffer.

They have been in power for over eight years and have yet to resolve major issues such as unemployment, sustainable SMEs, and near abolition of the middle class.

First and foremost, there is confusion about the €4 bln and where it’s coming from.

Some of it is part of the national recovery and resilience plan, some from ongoing funds, and others from emergency finance, such as for Covid-related programmes or low-cost funding underwritten by the European Central Bank and other institutions.

Of course, had the economy not been stable, or at least in a recovery mode, the rating agencies would not have upgraded the Cyprus sovereign, albeit at a slow pace.

These rating houses have all said that our banks are in a mess, more privatisation is needed, and fundamental reforms need to pass through parliament.

Admittedly, it has been dragging its feet as the opposition parties use the House to keep the government in check.

The problem is not the funds but the non-transparent way these are distributed, giving crumbs to everyone to keep them quiet.

And then there is the issue of jobs.

Unemployment levels remain high, not just because of the impact of coronavirus, but because of the disoriented way aid has been dished out, in temporary packages, hoping that the pandemic would end soon, and we would return to normalcy.

But the pandemic has still not been overcome, due to poor planning of the vaccination programme, resulting in a successive year of tourism disaster.

Back in 2014, the government was blaming everything on the legacy of the Akel-Christofias administration.

Years have passed, and we seem to have made little if any, progress.

At the time, the government said it would create 7,500 jobs and traineeships, focusing on a Green economy. Haven’t we heard that before?

The plan’s core would have been introducing natural gas into our energy mix for use in industry and homes, reducing household costs.

Jobs would be created in infrastructure and piping, establishing training in technical and vocational schools.

But the natural gas never came, and eight years later, we are paying the penalty for this delay.

If the Anastasiades administration is not to blame, then who is?

This government appointed people in charge of planning and securing natural gas supply, which seems to have taken ages.

Those 7,500 jobs never came to be, and now, we are talking about 11,000 “more” jobs.

That is why young people are frustrated.

They don’t know who to believe anymore. They don’t know if they will have decent jobs in the future.

And there is no one to guide them, just talking heads blaming each other for the mess.