/ Government set to table tax hike
THE GOVERNMENT is to send a £140 million tax hike package to the House for
approval next month, Alithia headlined yesterday.
The package would include a two per cent rise in VAT, and the number of
items on the VAT-exempt list would be reduced, the paper stated.
There would also be a considerable increase, of the order of seven to ten
cents per gallon, in the price of diesel, while unleaded petrol would
remain at the same price with leaded petrol going up in price slightly.
Road tax is to be upped by between 20 and 25 per cent and a new 10 to 15
cent tax is to be placed on tobacco, the report suggested, quoting
_ predicted, inaccurately as it turned out, that deputies were ready to
strike a back-room deal that would allow them unanimously to approve the
1999 defence budget at the House plenum yesterday.
The paper quoted "well-informed sources" as saying parties had agreed to
pass the budget, despite some parties' concerns over provisions for the
purchase of advanced weapons systems.
Opposition deputies fear any attempt to buy missiles or the like will be
scuppered by the same international opposition that led to the S-300
missiles having to be redirected to Crete.
Parties were now moving towards a compromise whereby they would "freeze"
provisions pertaining to the purchase of advanced weapons systems - a move
which would force the government to seek House approval afresh before it
could actually spend this "frozen" money.
Philelephtheros, like all the other dailies,
gave prominence to "revelations" by House president, Spyros Kyprianou, who
stated that the G8 was promoting a confederal Cyprus solution. The US and
Britain were busily preparing the groundwork for this undesirable
settlement scenario and would spring it on the government in the Autumn,
the veteran politician said.
Kyprianou, who had passed on relevant information to President Clerides,
said he feared the UN would be by-passed with a settlement proposal which
would provide for a Nato force on the island to ensure the peace was kept
between separate Greek and Turkish Cypriot states.
Simerini, quoting the chairman of the technical
chamber (Etek) Nicos Mesaritis, reported that the granting of planning
relaxations had become a "tradition" involving a complex and well-
established system of favouritism.
Mesaritis complained at a House interior committee meeting that the
granting of relaxations for buildings was now standard practice. He said
the relaxation "racket" was facilitated by exchanges of favours between
government officials and developers.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999