So, then, what’s go­ing on in Cyprus?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

We con­vinced the in­vestor that af­ter the events of March 2013, we have learned our les­son on how to man­age the econ­omy and that Cyprus has noth­ing to do with Greece as re­gards the econ­omy and non-con­form­ing with re­form mea­sures. He sug­gested, then, that “I must be crazy to in­vest in Cyprus, but my Cypriot wife ad­vises oth­er­wise, while my coun­selors also ad­vise me neg­a­tively.”

What has hap­pened that the for­eign in­vestor is un­con­vinced, and to sat­isfy our con­cerns he sent us the fol­low­ing points in a lat­ter:

• Cyprus has not fully com­plied with the Troika re­form pro­gramme re­sult­ing in a loss in the econ­omy of 500 mln, pri­mar­ily due to the lack of pri­vati­sa­tion of the semigov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions.

• What chances do you have to in­tro­duce a na­tional health scheme with nurses show­ing a fin­ger to the Health Min­is­ter, a de­tail no­ticed by our Bel­gian client from a dis­tance, while doc­tors refuse to punch time cards?

• Why are you turn­ing away in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies from Lar­naca, while on the other hand the state is try­ing to at­tract for­eign in­vestors?

• The dif­fer­ences be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor are far and wide. Is the re­struc­tur­ing of the pub­lic ser­vice go­ing ahead?

• I did not un­der­stand how the Na­tional Guard will find the money for new ar­ma­ment sys­tems and salaries for a pro­fes­sional army at an ad­di­tion cost of 30 mln euros a year. This alone will not harm the econ­omy?

• Is there no lead­er­ship in Cyprus be­yond the par­ties? The lead­ers, your Pres­i­dent has said, must lead and not to be car­ried away by the unions and by po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

• I in­vested 8 mln euros in Malta in build­ing project, I reg­is­tered com­pa­nies in two days, the cost of a lawyer and ac­coun­tant are 60% be­low that of Cyprus and the UK tax sys­tem, when one com­pares all that data are sim­i­lar or slightly higher than Cyprus, but af­ter all, that is Lon­don.

An­other client, a Dutch­man asked “what jus­tice sys­tem is this? Our ten­ant does not pay rent and we have been in court for four years (with­out pay­ment) and still wait­ing. From now on, for any new in­vest­ments we will re­fer in our con­tracts to English law and cer­tainly not Cyprus law. How is this con­sis­tent with the state’s aim to be­come an in­ter­na­tional ar­bi­tra­tion cen­tre?

“Who is this Ms. Zeta lady,” an Arab in­vestor asked, re­fer­ring to the Labour Min­is­ter. “How the Min­is­ters of Trans­port and Tourism made a mess of the ho­tel sec­tor, and yet, this woman reached a deal to se­cure labour peace in the ho­tels in ne­go­ti­a­tions that lasted un­til 3am. From now on, I will re­fer to this per­son to solve any po­ten­tial fu­ture prob­lems in my in­vest­ment. “I have prob­lems with my in­vest­ment in prop­er­ties worth mln, and yet the Com­merce Min­istry is com­pletely

32 in­dif­fer­ent. Should I go to the Min­istry of In­te­rior or Finance for an in­ter­ven­tion?

In an­other case for the pur­chase of three ho­tels in Paphos by an In­dian in­vestor In­dus, his as­sis­tant called us say­ing that “we thought that there is a free labour mar­ket, while it is just the op­po­site with the labour costs reach­ing 35% of our op­er­at­ing cost, which cer­tainly would not suit us.”

These are some of the letters and phone calls of com­plaints we re­ceive, as do other pro­fes­sion­als in the real estate sec­tor.

These days it would be some­what un­der­stand­able if the com­plaints had come from lo­cals and not for­eign­ers, but it seems that for­eign in­vestors are more sen­si­tive to de­tail than the rest of us lo­cals and that for­eign in­vestors are con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing our eco­nomic situation.

In our econ­omy that still has its prob­lems it seems that Cyprus can­not es­cape the com­ments by for­eign­ers and of course this wor­ries us be­cause de­spite all the enor­mous ef­forts made to at­tract for­eign in­vestors to Cyprus, at the end of the day for­eign in­vestors are still wor­ried, which is not good news in ef­forts to at­tract new mar­ket en­trants.

Un­for­tu­nately, the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and unions are largely to blame for de­stroy­ing Cyprus, and they con­tinue to do so by de­stroy­ing the fu­ture.

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