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UPDATED: 08:49, February 17, 2007
Cyprus brews big incentives to lift birth rate
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The Cypriot government is planning to award couples having a third child 20,000 Cyprus pounds (about 46,000 U.S. dollars) in a bid to combat the low birth rate in the country, the Daily Cyprus Mail reported on Friday.

The report said that if a bill drawn up by the Labor and Social Insurance Ministry is approved, families will get the one-off payment for their third child and for every child after that.

Cyprus has a population of 800,000 and about 80 percent are Greek Cypriots. The birth rate in the government controlled south currently stands at 1.45 percent, well below the 2.1 percent replenishment rate.

The official Statistical Service predicts the birth rate will probably drop to 1.3 percent in ten years. Many families in Cyprus stop at two children, for which they are granted a tax allowance of 500 Cyprus pounds (about 1,150 dollars) per year.

Also in the new incentive package is a possible extension of maternity leave from 16 weeks to 25 weeks.

Source: Xinhua

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