Containing the cost of living is high on the agendas of the three leading candidates for the Presidential elections to be held next month.
Averof Neophytou, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Nikos Christodoulides promise to combat the inflationary crisis, fuelled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic, and introduce effective support measures for low-income groups and the middle class.
President Nicos Anastasiades’ second term is ending after ten years in power; he is not seeking re-election on 5 February.
The mantle will be handed to one of the three contenders in the race, ruling DISY leader Averof Neophytou, former DISY member and foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides and opposition AKEL-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis.
Keeping hiking energy costs in check, rapidly boosting renewable sources in the island’s energy mix, and increasing energy storage capabilities are included in DISY-backed Neophytou’s 100 policy program.
Neophytou argues that Cyprus alone cannot stop global inflation.
“It would be a mistake to fall into populist traps that would only hurt public finances, similar to what we experienced before 2013, with measures that would exacerbate the problem.
“For as long as the crisis lasts, we aim to undertake continuous initiatives focused on relieving low-income groups and the middle class”.
He pledges that for one year – 2023 – he will introduce tax relief for those with an annual income of €19,500 to €28,000.
Mavroyiannis is committed to ensuring “dignified living conditions for all”.
In his detailed manifesto, Mavroyiannis says he will promote the installation of photovoltaics in homes with a subsidy of up to 100% while reinstating the Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) to its pre-2013 levels.
In the government’s fight to alleviate high living costs, he will work on convincing the EU for more rope in reducing taxes such as the consumption tax.
He also proposes to reinstate a reduction of VAT on electricity from 19% to 9% introduced for ten months by the outgoing government.
Mavroyiannis also pledges to abolish double taxation on fuel and tax windfall profits of companies operating in the energy sector.
Christodoulides, backed by centrist DIKO and socialist EDEK, has committed to introducing a series of measures to support citizens and businesses affected by hiking inflation rates.
He commits to reviewing COLA while introducing policies to clamp down on profiteering.
He argues that macroeconomic data and policies of the European Central Bank/Central Bank of Cyprus will be continuously evaluated as the competent authority for ensuring price stability.
Depending on inflation rates, target financial support will be provided to low-income groups, but always in line with fiscal discipline.