|Saturday, 17 March 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-08-13
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 GOVERNMENT FISCAL CONSOLIDATION BILLSThe government has tabled six bills aiming at fiscal consolidation at the House of Representatives.
The first bill concerns a 5% increase from 10% to 15% - of the special contribution to the defence fund on the interest debited or credited within the Republic. The percentage of the special contribution to defence on dividends would increase from 15% to 17%. This measure is set to bring an annual income of 65 million euros to the state.
The second bill provides for an additional taxation scale of 35% for persons with an income of 60,000 euros or more. This will give the state an additional 5 million per year and, once it becomes law, it will take effect from 2011.
The third bill provides for an increase in the immovable property tax.
Specifically, owners of property, which was valued in 1980 up to 120 thousand euros, will not have to pay immovable property tax. However, owners of property in 1980 which was valued between 120,001 to 170,000 euros will be subject to 0.4% tax. Owners of property which in 1980 was valued between 170,000 to 300,000 euros will pay 0.5% tax; owners of property valued in 1980 from 300,000 to 500,000 euros will pay 0.6% tax, while those with property valued between 500,000 to 800,001 euros will pay 0.7% tax. Owners of property valued in 1980 at 800,001 or more will pay 0.8% tax.
The government estimates 24.2 million euros in income from this measure.
The fourth bill regulates pension benefits of civil servants, semi-governmental employees and local authority employees and stipulates that new employees will join the Social Insurance Fund and pay the same contributions as those in the private sector, thus abolishing pension funds.
It also provides for an increased contribution to the widows and orphans fund from 0.75% to 2%.
The law will come into effect the first day of the second month after it is published in the Official Gazette.
The fifth bill deals with the contribution of the gross income and pensions of public sector employees, semi-governmental employees, local authority employees and those working at school boards.
The special contribution of 3% on the gross income or pensions will be valid for three years. The special contribution of 3% will be calculated on the monthly basic salary, any general pay rise or cost of living allowances, all benefits for compensation or overtime, and all flat benefits given to highly paid civil servants.
The 3% contribution concerns those working full time, part time, on an hourly basis and pensioners. It includes all officials except the President of the Republic, Ministers and members of the House of Representatives.
The overall contribution to state coffers is estimated at 90 million euros and, if the bill is passed into law, it will take effect the first day of the second month after it is published in the Official Gazette and will be valid for 36 months.
The last bill provides for an increase in VAT to 17% from 15% and it is estimated to bring an income of 160 million euros to government funds. It will take effect on 15th of September this year.
The House plenary will convene in an extraordinary meeting on 25th of August to vote on the proposed legislation. A debate on the measures will take place at the House Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs on 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August.
 EAC - GENERATORS - INCREASED CAPACITYThe Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) has announced that most of the generators sent from Greece have begun to produce electricity, increasing Cyprus` electricity capacity, damaged after the EAC main power station at Vassilikos had suffered severe damage from last months huge blast at a nearby naval base. At the same time the EAC has called on citizens to do their utmost to save energy, underlining that the energy crisis has not been addressed with the operation of temporary electricity production units.
An EAC press release said that more than 50 MW capacity generators have been added to the electricity network, from the total of 70 MW capacity generators sent to Cyprus by the Greek Public Power Corporation. It noted that the generators operated sooner than expected due to the coordinated, continuous and effective actions of EAC staff and its contractor.
As regards the generators which EAC has leased from US company Energy International Ltd, the Authority said that it is ready to receive the generators that will be installed in Dhekelia and Moni power stations. EAC and Energy International Ltd signed this week a contract for the supply, installation, operation and maintenance of temporary production units. The contract concerns production units of a total capacity of 95 MW. The generators are expected to arrive in Cyprus on August 15 and are expected to begin to operate by the beginning of September.
 FIRE SERVICE - STATISTICSThe Fire Service has sent a dramatic appeal to everybody to help prevent fires, in particular in rural areas, saying that in July this year a 25% increase in rural fires was reported compared to July last year. The cost of damage caused by fires is estimated at 4,1 million euro, according to Acting Director of the Fire Service Markos Tragolas, who said the Fire Service has received a total of 3619 calls for fires so far this year, and nearly 2,000 of them concerned fires in rural areas.
Most fires broke out in Nicosia district, Limassol district reported just over 1,000 fires, followed by Larnaca on the southeast (478), Pafos on the west (440) and Famagusta on the east (379). Last year, the Service received less calls but more of them related to rural areas. Tragolas has told a press conference that one square kilometer of land has been brunt so far this year, as a result of fires.
Asked about the cause of fires, he explained that statistics indicate that 30% of the fires are caused by fires lit by people to burn mainly dry vegetation, 20% are due to burning of refuse, 14% to cigarette butts, nearly 10% to malicious acts, 4% to short circuit and just over 3% to arson. No fire in rural areas starts by itself. I appeal to everybody to report immediately anybody whose moves raise suspicions, he said.
 CYPRUS SHIPPING PIRACYMore than half of the total armed robbery incidents against merchant vessels and more than one third of the total piracy incidents that occurred from January to August 2011 took place off the coast of Somalia. During the same period, there was also one piracy case against a Cyprus-flagged merchant vessel.
Speaking to CNA, Sergios Sergiou, Director of the Department of Merchant Shipping, said that in 2011 there was one successful piracy case against a Cypriot vessel, which was seized last January. Somali pirates seized MV Eagle on January 17, while sailing in the Gulf of Aden, south of Oman, en route to India. No Cypriot or Greek nationals were among the crew. Sergiou also said that there have been piracy cases against Cypriot merchant vessels in the past as well, while there have been also many failed attempts by pirates to seize ships. To the best of their knowledge, there are no Cypriot nationals being held hostage by pirates, Sergiou noted.
According to the latest data by the International Maritime Bureau, since the beginning of the year to August 10, 2011, there have been 304 armed robbery incidents in total against international vessels. Successful piracy cases for the same period are estimated at 31. Off the coast of Somalia, where the problem is particularly intense, armed robbery cases stood at 176, while pirates managed to hijack 22 vessels. During the course of the year, Somali pirates held 326 hostages, asking for ransom, while seven people died during the incidents.
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