MPs stand firm on slashing VAT on energy bills

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Cyprus MPs rejected President Nicos Anastasiades’ decision to send back to the House legislation scrapping VAT on fuel and electricity bills until the end of the year to ease the cost of living crisis.

With 27 MPs voting against and 12 for the President’s decision, the bills are expected to be pushed through once more, with Anastasiades reserving the right to appeal to the Supreme Court to rule on whether the bills are unconstitutional claims.

If the bills are sent to the constitutional court, a verdict will not be expected until the end of the year, defeating the bill’s purpose, as they foresee the lifting of VAT on fuel and electricity bills only until the end of 2022.

After consulting Attorney General George Savvides, President Nicos Anastasiades decided to send the legislation back, arguing they violated the constitution as they would interfere with the state’s budget.

President Anastasiades has argued that the bills would derail the government’s fiscal policies as they deprive state coffers of €75 mln.

Arguing in favour of Anastasiades’ decision to send the bills back, ruling DISY MP Savvia Orphanidou said the government has proven its compassion for people’s suffering and has supported them with three packages of measures totalling €350 mln.

Standing by his party’s proposal, main opposition AKEL MP Aristos Damianou argued that the government had seen increased revenues due to hiking fuel and electricity prices, which should relieve people in times of hardship.