Daily Press Review - 28/3/2019

ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ NEWS Δημοσιεύθηκε 28.3.2019
Daily Press Review - 28/3/2019
The government yesterday called interested parties to express interest in acquiring the immovable properties of the former Co-operative Central Bank

The joke of the Cypriot economy


Phileleftheros’ author argues that while the people of Cyprus are suffering (with 250.000 Cypriots being below the poverty line), the government tried to save the banking sector, at the expense of the borrowers. The author argued that loan guarantors and borrowers, are suffering and human dignity is being violated. He says that this is all because of the NPLs, which is the biggest crime to occur since the Cyprus Stock Exchange scandal. The author goes on to say that for the transfer of the ‘healthy’ Co-op to Hellenic Bank, they spent more than €1b. They did so order to save the banks, which were graded at ‘junk’ grade. The Cypriot banks are giving a 4% deposit interest rate, and they lend it to ECB, and they pay a negative deposit interest rate (-0.4%). Cypriots are afraid of borrowing because in the past, they weren’t protected by the banks, which were increasingly acting like “loan-sharks”, lending with up to 40% interest rate. He goes on to say that the government ordered laws from the House, in order to save the banks at the expense of the borrowers, which are unconstitutional and they violate the human rights of guarantors and borrowers/



New shares introduced to the dashboard

The CSE council announces that it has accepted, according to Article 58(1) of the CSE Law, to introduce the 214.330.364 new regular shares of Hellenic Bank (with nominal value: €0.50), as following: 142.901.792 new regular shares that emerged from the shareholders’ exercise of the preference rights as well as the disposal of shares that corresponded to non-exercised rights of preference as well as 71.428.572 new regular shares that were sold to Poppy Sarl at the price of €0.70 per new regular share, through private placement, according to the provisions of the press release dated 28 January 2018. The above shares will be integrated in the company’s already listed equity, which will in turn increase to 412.805.076 shares. The negotiation of the above shares will start on Thursday 28 March 2019. The introduction of the new shares marks the completion of the bank’s €150m share capital increase.

 

Government calls interested parties to express interest in Co-op properties

The government yesterday called interested parties to express interest in acquiring the immovable properties of the former Co-operative Central Bank. In a statement after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the government’s decision is still valid and its policy is that the properties of the Co-op that were acquired by the state, will be given to communities or public services, which will utilise them. “We want to address all the interested parties. The Cabinet returned to a previous decision it had taken on 20 February and was informed on the progress of operations in order to allocate the properties that were acquired by the state, after last year’s decision to merge the Co-op with Hellenic Bank”, the spokesman said, noting that that with this decision, the state had managed to save and acquire 2.815 properties worth €600m.



Applications for Co-op properties are carefully examined

As above, the article reports that the government is examining the applications of municipalities, communities as well as public services to acquire the Co-op’s properties. Government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou said that on 20 February, it was decided that a large portion of the specific properties, would be distributed to communities and services of general interest. “Even though there was a 4-month deadline, the procedure has already progressed, many applications have been approved, the list is being examined as are the legal procedures, and very soon the decisions will be decided”, he added. He also said that the government’s decision, still describes its policy that the Co-op properties that were acquired by the state, will be given to communities or public services in order to be utilised. They may be given to state services, they may be given to communities, therefore there will be a different approach. In any case, the goal is for them to be used; it is not a profit-making procedure”. KEDIPES’ sale of Co-op’s properties, ended on 31 January, and as the Minister of Finance said, the Cabinet has set up a three-member technical committee, which by the end of April, will prepare a list with the properties that the state will get for debt, with an updated evaluation according to market prices.

 

Co-op’s properties will go to communities or public services

As above, the article reports on the spokesman’s statements after yesterday’s cabinet meeting, during which progress was recorded on the allocation of the properties owned by the former Co-operative Central Bank.



Cruise industry key for tourism development

Opportunities in the tourism sector and the need to accelerate procedures to develop and promote sustainable tourism, were at the focus of a meeting between DP World Limassol and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios. The Deputy Minister of Tourism was welcomed by DP World Limassol officials during a recent visit at the Limassol port. During his visit, the Deputy Minister had the opportunity to take a tour of the recently inaugurated New Passenger Terminal for cruise customers. He also met with DP World Limassol’s General Manager, Charles Meaby and exchanged views on ways to enhance Cyprus’ tourist products to increase the country’s competitiveness and improve the visitors’ experience. The Deputy Minister of Tourism said, “a robust cruise industry can have a significant impact on the local communities and the wider Cyprus economy, generating multiple benefits.” Perdios continued “DP World Limassol is an important partner of the state and one of the main stakeholders of the tourism industry. We consider it imperative that we join forces towards establishing Limassol port as a major cruise hub in Eastern Mediterranean”.

 

Suspects arrested in connection with drug haul, remain silent

Two out of six suspects that were arrested in connection with the drug haul will remain in custody for another 8 days. The two men, a Bosnian and a Greek Cypriot company owner, were arrested after 350 packs of cannabis (104 kilos) were found in a container with plaster boards on Monday 18 April. The Bosnian, who allegedly imported the container and the three Greek Cypriots that were arrested, refused any connection with the drug haul, whilst the two Nigerians said that they were employed to help unload the container. The two Greek Cypriots and two Nigerians were arrested on the spot. This drug bust was one of the biggest ever in Cyprus, according to the Police.

 

Attention turns to VTTV oil storage terminal

By supporting initiatives aimed at promoting Cyprus as an attractive investment destination and an international business centre, VTT Vasiliko Ltd (VTTV) recently hosted a group of economic and commercial consultants from 23 different countries at Vasiliko’s oil storage terminal. The diplomats were welcomed by the VTTV management and staff and were guided to the modern facilities of the Terminal. During their visit, they had the opportunity to see the largest infrastructure project of Cyprus for the past few years, that costed €300m and placed Cyprus on the global energy map. Moreover, they were informed about the great investment opportunities Cyprus offers, especially in the energy sector.



One-use plastics outside EU until 2021

The use of single use plastic items including plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds will have to be stamped out by 2021 following the approval on Wednesday evening by the European Parliament of a law banning them. According to an EP press release, the agreement also strengthens the application of the polluter pays. A total of 560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 against and 28 abstained. The following products will be banned in the EU by 2021: Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, plastic balloon sticks. Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups. Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The agreement also strengthens the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea. The legislation finally stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.



GHS enters final stretch

Phileleftheros reports that two months before the launch of the first phase of the General Health System, preparations are taking place, so that HIO starts offering primary healthcare services to Cypriots. The training of pharmacists and clinical lab directors on the GHS software began yesterday, as did the registration of citizens at the GHS registry and the catalogues of personal doctors. The negotiation with pharmaceutical suppliers is almost complete and the newspaper’s sources report that a positive answer has been given to the HIO and the Ministry of Health. HIO has completed the review of activities which include the doctors’ fees for all specialties. It is waiting to hear any objections from doctors’ side in order to proceed with new adjustments if it is necessary. The HIO completed its preparation and has uploaded the relevant catalogues on its site asking doctors to view them and in case they detect mistakes or omissions they should contact the HIO, that will make the necessary adjustments. A few weeks ago HIO had prepared and published updated catalogues of 22 medical specialties. Finally, today it is expected that the House Health Committee will start discussing the four bills as well as the text of the Regulations that will regulate the way that the private pharmacies will operate and the way the latter will participate in the GHS.



Unexpected response from doctors for the public sector

According to the Organisation of State Health Services (OKYPY) doctors from various specialties have expressed increased interest to be employed in state hospitals raising optimism for medical specialties that didn’t have enough doctors until recently. Between the day that 33 positions were announced and the deadline, OKYPY received three times as many applications. There is an increased interest among doctors who wish to be employed in the A&E Departments in the public sector. There is also optimism for gastroenterology since OKYPY received many applications after trying to attract doctors to this positions, for over 2 years. Orthopedics have also expressed increased interest.



Watchdog to oversee medical protocols for Gesy

Cabinet approved on Wednesday the establishment of a national committee for the creation of protocols and guidelines for the medical world, ahead of the implementation of the National Health Scheme (Gesy). The committee will advise the health minister and is tasked with creating the medical community’s protocol. “This was a standing demand of the medical world and patients,” deputy government spokesperson, Klelia Vasiliou, said. The committee will meet at least three times per year and its members will serve on a three-year term, with the possibility of renewal. The health ministry’s permanent secretary will be the chair of the committee and the head of the state medical services will be the coordinator. Members will consist of three academics – one from each medical school of Cyprus’ universities – one representative each of the medical association, the bioethics committee, state pharmaceutical services and of the federation of patients and friends. The state health services will appoint a scientist to be in charge of the working groups, while a representative of the Health Insurance Organisation will have observer status.

 

Patients expect positive news from pharmaceutical suppliers

The Cyprus Association of Patients and Friends expresses its satisfaction with regards to the decision of the Cyprus Pharmaceutical Association to join the GHS. The patients’ association highlights the importance of this decision since with the inclusion of private pharmacies in the GHS, the patients’ ordeal has ended, as has the long wait at state pharmacies. The decision of the Cyprus Association of Patients and Friends relieves patients and specifically patients with chronic diseases who will get their medicines from their neighbourhood pharmacy. Phileleftheros also reports that the prices of over-the-counter medicines are not included in the official state medicine price-list. The prices will be determined by the supplier and the pharmacist who will sell the medicines to patients. For the last ten years wholesale prices of over-the-counter medicines were determined by importers and suppliers who were submitting a report to the Pharmaceutical Services which in turn adjusted for the pharmacist’s profit margin and published these retail prices of the products via the official medicines price-list. Through the new Ministerial decree, the wholesale price will continue to be determined by the importers/suppliers but it will not be included in the official medicines price- list. As such the final retail price will be set by the pharmacists.

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