Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis presented the budget before the Parliamentary Financial and Budgetary Committee on Monday.
Discussion was heated on whether projects which are co-funded by EU funds should be included in the Ministry`s budget or should fall under the budget of the General Directorate of European Programmes, Coordination and Development.
Kouyialis explained to MPs that the way the ministries budget is allocated has changed and that all co-funded projects are included in the General Directorate’s budget.
On his part Finance Ministry`s Director of Finance Stavros Michael said that it was decided to keep all funds for EU co-funded projects under the General Directorate umbrella for absorption rate purposes.
Kouyialis pointed out that out of the €900 million Cyprus will receive from co-funded programmes €160 million are allocated for the environment while €132 million are for rural development funds.
The absorption rate for 2015 has been 60% so far while December is going to be crucial as the Ministry aims for its absorption rate to reach 90%.
The Cypriot minister also stressed the significance of protecting traditional Cypriot products as ameans for agricultural growth, the creation of new jobs and tourism. To that extent he made particular reference to the traditional Cypriot cheese halloumi.
The ministry`s budget for 2016 has increased to €245 million in 2016 from €240 million in 2015, up by 2%.
Kouyialis also said that development expenditure is expected to go up by 37% in 2017 and 63% in 2018 compared to what was spent in 2015.
Source: Famagusta Gazette