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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-09-12

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, September 12, 1998

Tax hikes inevitable

MOST papers led with reports about the tax increases, provisions for which were included in the government's budgets for 1999, approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

Phileleftheros, under the headline "Taxes inevitable", noted that the government considered tax hikes to be an imperative given the widening of the fiscal deficit and the need to meet the targets set by the Maastricht guidelines.

The Minister of Finance Christodoulous Christodoulou noted that there could be no more cuts in public spending without affecting the government's development and social programmes. Government spending for 1999 had increased by only 3.3 per cent, compared to the previous year when it grew by 10.7 per cent.

Simerini highlighted Christodoulou's warning to the House. The minister said that if the tax hikes were not passed, welfare spending for the weaker members of society would have to be drastically cut to make ends meet.

In addition to this, failure to increase the state's revenue caused the widening fiscal deficit and increasing public debt to diverge significantly from the Maastricht targets.

Haravghi said that while all economic indicators were heading in the wrong direction, the minister of finance insisted on painting a rosy picture about economic prospects.

The paper criticised the government's Development Budget, which has remained at the same level as in 1998 - 261 million. It noted that only a part of the development budget had been implemented by the government in the past.

Alithia reported that President Clerides had asked all the members of the Council of Ministers to prepare personal capital statements and submit them to him. Clerides felt that the government needed to make a start in the fight against corruption.

With this move he had hoped to put pressure on the political parties to pass an anti-corruption bill which had been gathering dust in the House of Representatives for years. The capital statements by the ministers will follow the guidelines set out in the anti-corruption bill.

Machi alleged that a 34-year-old woman was in critical condition after undergoing an operation to have her tonsils removed. During the operation she suffered heavy haemorrhage, because the doctors had cut an artery, the paper alleged.

The patient was flown to Nicosia General Hospital and put in the intensive care unit. Meanwhile Paphos police had gone to the hospital to investigate the conditions under which the incident had taken place.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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