Employees of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation which has been transformed into the island’s first Deputy Ministry of Tourism appear to be excessively privileged – more than any other civil servant, according to a recent report by the auditor general’s office.
The report noted that CTO employees transferred to the Deputy Ministry “enjoy all rights and benefits and have all the duties and obligations of civil servants…We therefore consider it unacceptable and possibly illegal for the former CTO officers to be civil servants but more privileged than other civil servants.”
The report also said: “Taking into consideration the provisions of article 14 of Law No.123 (I) / 2018, ensuring the equal treatment of civil servants, we recommend the abolition of their Complementary Health Care Plan, Welfare Fund and the Housing and Education Subsidies Fund – but not before the Attorney General of the Republic has been consulted first.”
According to collective agreements signed over the years, the staff of the former semi-governmental organisation had been granted benefits, the amount of which (according to the accounting department’s data issued on 15/2/2019, 31/12/2017 and 31/12 /2018) totalled €1,568,312 and €1,544,998 respectively.
As of December 31, 2018 (when CTO was abolished) the organisation had 193 permanent staff , 10 non-permanent but with an open-ended contract, 16 part-timers, and a total of 37 local staff working at representations of the organisation abroad.
In addition, the report underlined that statements submitted to the Tax Department and based on the CTO’s explanatory letter in regard to its accounts of 2016 “the Organisation considers that it is not liable to tax. However, the Tax Department has sent corporate tax assessments for the years 2016 to 2012 which also include tax and fines.”
The Auditor General’s Office has requested a meeting with the Tax Department “to clarify whether there are any tax liabilities.”