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Consumers shouldn't pay for state's mistakes.

Byline: Jacqueline Theodoulou

THE HOUSE Commerce Committee yesterday proposed that the government reduce VAT on electricity by the same percentage consumers will have to pay as part of EU sanctions for emissions.

The Committee had decided to discuss the EU sanctions imposed on Cyprus due to its emissions; a direct effect of the island's failure to provide renewable energy sources. It also discussed the consequences this would have on the state's economy and Cypriot consumers.

"From the very first moment, we told the government that it was unrealistic and punishing for the public to impose the fines for the emissions, for which the state and government are diachronically to blame, on to paying consumers," Committee Chairman Lefteris Christoforou of DISY said after the meeting.

"Once again, electricity consumers are in an unpleasant position, being held hostages, having to pay more than the cost of electricity," he added. "Cypriot consumers are already paying 16 to 17 per cent in VAT and duties for renewable energy sources, and the state wants to add to these costs, which will burden consumers with a further cost of over 20 per cent on the value of electricity."

"Because the state is finding various excuses and explanations for not taking on its responsibilities, we are submitting a proposal today that the percentage imposed on electricity bills for the emissions is counteracted with the same reduction in VAT and in this way, without legalistic or other problems, the matter can be resolved and consumers won't have to pay once again for the governments' mistakes".

EDEK Deputy George Varnava said the mistakes were down to the state and not the consumers. "We feel that the public, already burdened with enough other taxes, should certainly not take on this responsibility as well," he said. "For this reason, we are calling on the state to evaluate alternative proposals, so that this amount, which reaches around e1/412.5 million a year, is not added to electricity bills but taken on by the state itself."

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:May 13, 2009
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