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Daily Press Review – 16/10/2019

AmCham Cyprus announces new BoD

AmCham Cyprus announces the composition of a Board of Directors, after elections that were held on10 October. Specifically, the Board’s chairman is Haris Kakoullis (KPMG), Vice-Chairman is Georgios Georgiou (Logicom), and head Treasurer is Savvas Klitou (Baker Tilly) and members are: Aris Anastasiades (Advanced Business Solutions), Pericles Theodorides (Cablenet), Kyriacos Xenophontos (Elias Neocleous & Co), Varnavas Theodosiou (ExxonMobil), Demetris Sparsis (Hellenic Bank, Marios Kapiris (IBM), Demetris Taxitaris (MAP S Platis), Leonidas Georgiou (Microsoft), Kyriacos Kyriacou (NCR), Andreas Dermosoniades (NewCytech Business Solutions), Antonis Skoullos (Oracle), Stelios Violaris (PwC), Elena Kontemenioti (University of Nicosia) and Giannis Georgoullas (Way out communication).

 

E-auctions to start soon

Last summer’s disarray at the House over the foreclosure laws amendments, engendered a change in the timeframes of several procedures. This concerns the sale of large NPL portfolios by the banks, the delay of the ESTIA scheme, and the low participation due to uncertainty, as well as the delay of e-auctions. This project began a few months after the vote empowering the anti-NPL framework in July 2018. The successful bidder of the procurement procedure was a Greek company named Newsphone Hellas SA, as Kathimerini reported in December 2018. The company also created the corresponding e-auction platform in Greece. The goal is to begin the e-auctions procedure in November. The banks have large real estate portfolios in their disposal and they will want to channel these properties to the e-auction procedures. For example, Bank of Cyprus owns properties worth €1.55b at REMU, Hellenic Bank maintains properties worth around €150m and managed by APS, while AlphaBank also has many properties that will be serviced by DoValue. AstroBank will service its properties internally. Most of the properties in the banks’ disposal have been acquired in debt-to-asset swaps. It is estimated that NPLs were reduced by €8b in this way. The problem was however transferred to the banks, who cannot act as real estate agents.

 

Foreclosures: atrocities, unfairness, deadlock

Haravgi’s author argues that the country’s economic leadership and politicians are trying to suggest that the inhumane removal of people from their houses, is a normal and fair situation. He argues that they are trying to hinder every effort to protect these people. Amending the foreclosures law would be a major setback, the CEO of Hellenic Bank, Ioannis Matsis said in June. Similarly, rating agencies take the matter a step further, asking for the abolition of people’s right to appeal. As much as it doesn’t sound normal that the banks are defining the game, the rating agencies are threatening Cypriot banks even more with a downgrade, if the borrowers are given the right to appeal to the court and secure a decree for cancelling the auction of their property.

 

ETYK expects that Hellenic’s employees will be paid in full

ETYK is expecting that Hellenic Bank employees will be paid in full for October. In a circular, it mentions that as it comes to the latest 24-hour strike at Hellenic Bank, the employees have to be aware that the Bank will pay the employees in full, without deducting their fee for the day. “Hellenic Bank’s obligation results from the fact that it violated the agreements with ETYK (by not granting the incremental pay rise) and therefore, it has caused the 24hr strike”, the announcement reports. “Therefore, our colleagues are entitled to their salary for 11/10/2019 and our Organisation will fight for it with all means possible”.

 

The state will not beg for ESTIA

Called to comment on criticisms of the complicated application process for ESTIA, the Finance Minister yesterday noted that the borrowers with NPLs that wish to join ESTIA must submit all the necessary documents. Mr Georgiades mentioned that the applications for the scheme are similar to those for the GMI, and stressed that the documents must be submitted so as to perform the necessary checks. “He added that as the banks have reported, there will be a few corrections to facilitate the process. People who want to apply for ESTIA will be assisted, but the state is not begging anyone to join the scheme”, the Minister added.

 

Port workers: strike is our only option

The tension in the ports rises even further since a large number of labour issues remain unsolved for a long time. Specifically, workers of the Limassol port will go on a 24-hour strike as yesterday’s intervention by the Ministry of Labour failed to persuade the employer to conclude to a renewal of the collective agreement. The collective agreement expired on 31/12/2917 and its 3-year renewal (until 2020) is still pending, as DP World the managing company refuses to agree. They’ve already taken the decision to carry out the 24-hour strike, however, today they’re expected to decide on which day. It’s worth to note that the duration of the strike is up to the employer, as during the strike the employees will be holding a general meeting, where they’ll evaluate the situation. In his statements the General Secretary of SEGDAMELIN PEO Athos Eleftheriou, stated that “once again, port employees must demand that which is already agreed and employers are obligated to implement”. He added that strike is their only option following the failure of repeated attempts to agree and sign the collective agreement. Beyond the collective agreement which is still pending, the issue of responsibility of both DP World and the Ministry of Transport for failing to resolve the issue still remains.

 

10 big projects €75m which were completed this year

In total ten public projects €74.6 were completed in 2019. Among them, the parallel road to the new Limassol port €17.4m, the vertical road to Limassol port – highway interchange and accesses €11.5m, Aglandjia avenue €16m, renovation of the State theatre Nicosia €10.3m, improvement of Pernera avenue in Paralimni €6.8 etc.

 

Port worker in serious condition

A 44-year-old employee of the Limassol port was seriously injured during work hours on Monday. According to Limassol police, the employee was carrying out work when lifting axis fell on his head. The 44-year-old was transferred to the hospital where they identified he suffered a skull fracture. He’s not in critical condition, but because it’s serious they’re holding him for treatment.

 

List of sanctions for Turkish illegal drilling is being prepared

Nicosia is expected to submit a list of natural and legal persons involved in the Turkish illegal drilling for purposes of sanctions. Foreign Minister, Nicos Christodoulides explained that the next steps involved is preparing the legislative act was done in the case of Russia with Crimea, so that there would be a legal basis for any of the persons involved to be brought to the European court. In addition, Nicosia, in handing over the list of these persons, should provide all the evidence demostrating their involvement in Turkey’s illegal actions. The decision will be formally adopted on Friday at the EU Summit.

 

Patients inconvenienced for more than two hours

Patients at Nicosia General Hospital were unjustifiably inconvenienced at the hospital’s pharmacy, as they need more than two hours to receive their prescribed medicines, which are not available at private pharmacies. Yesterday, Alithia was at Nicosia General Hospital’s pharmacy, where dozens of patients waited in the queue. Only two pharmacists were available, with one assisting people with disabilities and the other assisting the remaining patients.

 

PTA satisfied over creation of an independent Thalassemia Centre

In an announcement, the Pancyprian Thalassemia Association (PTA) expressed its satisfaction about a Cabinet decision to construct an independent thalassemia centre. According to the PTA, the creation of an independent centre will improve the quality of services for people with thalassemia in Cyprus. Mr. Miltiadous described this decision as historic for the families of patients in Cyprus. This centre will be an opportunity to connect with other academic institutions as well as specialised centres abroad, offering the complex services that this disease requires. Lastly, Mr. Miltiadous informed the public that the association has already moved forward with the creation of a support centre for individuals with thalassemia and new parents, which will start operating soon. In a uniquely designed space, patients and their relatives can receive psychological support, exercise regiments, counselling meetings with specialists, general support, etc.

 

HIO will go on strike for two hours

All the unions of HIO employees will go on a two-hour strike on Friday, 18 October 9-11:00am. According to their announcement, HIO’s employees and their families have been waiting for months in uncertainty about their lack of in-patient healthcare insurance, until the second phase of GHS’ implementation in June 2020. “The HIO appears to be unwilling to cover its contractual and regulatory obligation of in-patient care to its employees and their families, as its budget continues to be bound by the House”. The unions call the House Health Committee and political parties to release the relevant budget, requesting the Health Minister’s involvement. They also call on the HIO to make decisions to resolve this issue, even in the case where the House refuses to release the budget.

 

PASYKI responds to the Health Minister

PASYKI responds to the Health Minister, asking him to be informed about Medicine in general. “If highlighting issues regarding the quality of the services offered to patients, as well as their safety, is considered “slander”, then Mr. Health Minister, with all due respect, you need to be informed about Medicine in general”, PASYKI announced. They noted that the greatest admission of the situation at the A&E departments was by the MoH themselves, as it comes to the “safety personnel”. On the matter of “misinformation” that the Minister referred to, PASYKI wants to remind him of his statements during the last meeting of the House Health Committee, where he took the opportunity to blame PASYKI in its absence.

 

Yes to a supplementary healthcare plan

A survey of 834 participants, showed that the public is interested in a supplementary healthcare insurance plan, while they haven’t made a decision on what they’ll do with their current insurance plan yet. In view of the GHS’ implementation, 14.6% responded that they’ll keep their insurance as is, while 11.5% stated that they’d cancel it. 1/3 stated that they hadn’t decided yet. On the question on whether they’d be interested in a supplementary healthcare plan, 30% of responders stated that they’d be interested in one, while 24.5% stated that they’d choose later.