Addressing a trade union meeting, Stavrakis said that ”in the last quarter of 2008 we had the highest growth rate in the Eurozone, in 2009, according to official European Commission projections, we are again expected to have the highest growth rate among the old members of the Eurozone.”
Stavrakis pointed out that ”the higher the growth rate, the less pressure you have towards unemployment.”
”It has been estimated that we will have a growth rate of about 2.5% to 3%, taking into consideration the increase of inflation. Unemployment remains stable,” he said.
Stavrakis noted that this was the first time the social cohesion budget was so high, concerning Easter allowances, pensions and student welfare.
He added that the government has managed to provide for social welfare, without sacrificing economic and fiscal stability.
”In Cyprus, we want to be a centre to attract foreign investment, foreign business, foreign deposits, and the fiscal and economic stability we have at this point are comparatively very significant weapons and advantages, which allow us to attract foreign investors,” he said.
Stavrakis noted that in 2008 the public debt dropped from about 60% of the GDP to 49.35%.
”For the first quarter of 2009, we will have a growth rate over 2%. Efforts are being made, seeing the problems that will worsen from the summer onwards. Our calculation is that the difficult times may come in the summer of 2009 and possibly continue to exist in 2010. The measures regarding tourism begin on May 1st, in the heart of the tourist period,” he added.
Financial Mirror, March 30, 2009