The government’s new stimulus package, announced on Wednesday night, has received a mixed reaction from a divided political field and faces calls for parliamentary scrutiny.
The two major players to back greater parliamentary oversight are Akel’s general secretary Andros Kyprianou and Diko’s president Nicolas Papadopoulos.
The economic package, released after the government had to pull its original plan because so many changes requested by other parties made it unworkable, will unlock up to €1.7bn in new credit facilities designed to jumpstart an economy crippled by the two-month-long closures.
Kyprianou, so far the loudest critic of the plan, said on Thursday that the funds should be held accountable to a vote in parliament.
He also said all the details should be examined before it is implemented.
He did, however, praise the measures of support for those renting “as a move in the right direction.”
One of the measures relates to subsidizing rents for a fixed duration, while direct grants to small businesses and the self-employed will cover part of rental and operating costs.
Papadopoulos criticized the president’s address to the nation on Wednesday night as a move to manage the conversation surrounding the situation, because the government did not want to accept oversight as requested by the other parties.
“The government of the collapse of the Cooperative, the passports, and private jets cannot speak about transparency,” Papadopoulos said.
He also said the package raised many questions, and many details must be accounted for, but most of the measures were not new and were already programmed for in the budget.
Disy’s president Averof Neophytou meanwhile said the second iteration of the package was more reliable than the first and was mostly in line with the government position.
As for parliament having a vote on the new measures, he said that at least 90 percent of it could go ahead without a vote.
Neophytou said he is confident that the package will be well received if it does go to a vote.
In a significant move for the government, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (Keve) said it was delighted with the new assistance measures.
“It is rational and targeted and will certainly help restart the economy,” Keve said.
Haggling over critical points, such as the auditor general’s involvement, mired the government’s efforts to get the package out sooner.
According to the measures announced on Wednesday, some €800m in liquidity will be made available through the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Fund.
A joint venture of the European Investment Bank and the Republic of Cyprus – to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In partnership with the European Investment Bank, the government will increase by €500m from the existing credit line to SMEs and mid-caps.
Anastasiades said Cyprus is expected to tap between €300m and €400m from the Pan-European Guarantee Fund. The beneficiaries are SMEs and mid-caps damaged by the effects of the pandemic.
The loans in question will be guaranteed by the Pan-European Guarantee Fund, up to 80 percent. To be eligible, businesses must not have axed any jobs during the restrictions.