Labour ministry spending has exceeded €1 billion in the first seven months of the year, mainly reflecting state assistance aimed at tackling the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, treasury data show.
The ministry’s spending between January and July rose by €407 million, or 68 per cent, year-on-year, almost matching its expenditure for the whole 2019, which reached €1.07bn.
During the same period last year, the ministry’s spending was at 17 per cent.
The rise is due to the various schemes the state introduced to prop up the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.
In July, the ministry spent €191m compared with €168m the previous month and €90m in July 2019.
The highest monthly expense was recorded in May with €238m before the measures were fine-tuned.
According to the treasury, labour ministry spending is expected to remain high, as an additional €106m has been announced in the form of assistance.
The sum earmarked for special schemes was €457m, including the one-off payment to small businesses. An additional €75m is expected to be granted between August and October.
Over 180,000 workers have had their salaries subsidised between mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic started affecting Cyprus and the end of May. Between June and July, the government paid subsidies to 70,000 workers.