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Cyprus approves balanced budget with expenditure of $9bn in 2023
The tourism sector performed strongly with 2.95m visitors from January to October 2022

Cyprus on Thursday approved the island’s 2023 budget, the last of the government of incumbent centre-right President Nicos Anastasiades who will step down after elections in February.

The 56-member House of Representatives voted for the budget with a government-backed majority. It puts spending at €8.456 billion ($8.89 billion) on revenue of 8.452 billion.

Lawmakers of the ruling centre-right Democratic Rally party supported the budget.

Members of the main opposition party, left-wing AKEL, voted against, accusing the government of presiding over a shift in more wealth to a few and doing nothing to buffer the public from high inflation.

Cyprus expects its economy to grow around three percent next year, compared with a 5.7 percent expansion in 2022, a year driven by a strong performance in tourism and its services sector. Its public debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, is expected to fall to 83.3 percent in 2023 from 89.3 percent in 2022.

“I am very confident that Cyprus can maintain these positive rates of growth,” said Averof Neofytou, head of the Democratic Rally party who is contesting the Feb. 5 presidential elections.

He is trailing in opinion polls behind Nikos Christodoulides, a former foreign minister in Anastasiades’s cabinet who is running as an independent.

Consumer demand and tourism have resurged after the pandemic.

Despite a decline in Russian tourists, who had accounted for 20 percent of overall arrivals before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the tourism sector has performed strongly with 2.95 million visitors from January to October 2022, compared with 1.7 million in the year-ago period.