Tol­er­at­ing yet an­other risky stu­pid­ity

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

I won­der if there are any peo­ple in this place with lit­tle brains wish­ing to de­stroy the Cypriot econ­omy, es­pe­cially when it is on the way to re­cov­ery.

I won­der, then, with what logic shops must be closed over the week­end and then we all ex­pect, in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent, to at­tract in­vestors to Cyprus.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Com­merce, around 7,000 em­ploy­ees were hired by su­per­mar­kets and oth­ers, even with the min­i­mal 500 eu­ros a month, and they will now be un­em­ployed and all of the rest of us should sup­port them with benefits from our taxes, when there is no need for such mea­sures. A shop lady was cry­ing on TV be­cause she was un­em­ployed with two chil­dren and that with­out the 500 eu­ros a month she could not pay the rent. Per­haps MP An­ge­los Vot­sis and the rest of the ster­ile poli­cies of the 1980s who re­ceive re­spectable wages as par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, in­come from their own busi­nesses, have not re­alised that our friend on TV found a job, even if for only 500 eu­ros a month and now she will lose it.

Cyprus is try­ing to at­tract the cruise busi­nesses and has in­ten­si­fied its ef­forts. But by in­tro­duc­ing laws that will reg­u­late the open­ing and closing of shops will be bad for our im­age in the eyes of the cruise tourists. Plus, a lot of peo­ple who work all week, found Sun­day to be the per­fect day for shop­ping. Many of us visit su­per­mar­kets on Sun­day where we will meet fel­low pro­fes­sion­als, lawyers, ac­coun­tants and oth­ers, be­cause that is the only day that we (male) con­sumers will be able to shop for what­ever our wives didn’t. Con­sumers throng to the su­per­mar­kets and malls on Sun­days, which in turn have of­fered em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for many out of work, so it suits us o be out on Sun­day and the aim should be to serve con­sumers, not the petty in­ter­ests of oth­ers.

So, to put it bluntly, 7,000 peo­ple must lose their jobs be­cause of the 200 or so small shops with 1-2 em­ploy­ees, and we will have to once again con­trib­ute more to the state in the form of taxes to pay for the in­creased un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit. And is there a list at the Min­istry of Labour with names, num­bers, etc. of more than 7,000 peo­ple, as some po­lit­i­cal par­ties claim, say­ing that this is not the real num­ber of peo­ple who have ben­e­fit from Sun­day shop­ping work? So, in or­der to keep a num­ber of small shops to sur­vive, we should sac­ri­fice the evo­lu­tion of the en­tire re­tail sec­tor?

And what will hap­pen to the walled city of Ni­cosia, the old part of Li­mas­sol and Lar­naca and other ar­eas that have flour­ished in the last 2-3 years? Should we close them too fro the sake of no more than 30 an­ti­quated shop­keep­ers in the walled part of Ni­cosia?

We all have to re­alise that Cyprus, as an all-is­land tourist des­ti­na­tion, should aim to serve tourists, as well as the lo­cals. All th­ese ameni­ties that we en­joy ev­ery day have their im­por­tance for the sales and in­vest­ments in real es­tate in­vest­ments. What­ever ham­pers (even un­rea­son­ably) the pleas­ant use of week­end shop­ping, also makes it dif­fi­cult for the real es­tate mar­ket, es­pe­cially when buy­ers such as Bri­tish, Ger­mans, Rus­sians and oth­ers, seem to en­joy much more flex­i­ble work­ing hours in their own coun­tries. So, we should lay off those un­for­tu­nate 7,000 em­ploy­ees and close the malls, su­per­mar­kets, the old of Ni­cosia and by ex­ten­sion restau­rants, cafés, etc. (so that we can claim to have equal­ity), in or­der to sat­isfy the petty shop­keep­ers who are a dy­ing breed of their own, due to the world­wide changes in shop­ping trends, con­di­tions and ser­vices.

What is more puz­zling is that if at some stage the House will also dic­tate work­ing hours on Sun­days for of­fice, as the mico-of­fices will not be able to ex­tend their work­ing hours on Sun­days, if they have to, due to the na­ture of their work or deal­ing with over­seas clients, etc. The whole phi­los­o­phy is so wrong that it extends to the fi­nan­cial sec­tor and with the time dif­fer­ence we have with other coun­tries, 30% of for­eign com­pa­nies can­not carry out their busi­ness from Cyprus be­cause of in­flex­i­ble work­ing hours and very of­ten we are closed. Where will this whole is­sue of in­ter­ven­tion by Par­lia­ment, trade unions and oth­ers, in­clud­ing the banks, fi­nally end?

That is why I can­not un­der­stand why the House wants in­ter­vene in the free trade mar­ket, even though the po­si­tion of AKEL may be some­how un­der­stood, due to its ide­ol­ogy. But what about the rest?

www.aloizou.com.cy ala-HQ@aloizou.com.cy

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