Φόρμα αναζήτησης

Daily Press Review- 4/4/2019

In the press today:

Government promoting private interests

Article by AKEL Spokesman, Stefanos Stefanou who argues that while the government and ruling party DISY, are saying that they are defenders of the free-market economy and competition, their policies however are always adjusted to the interests they want to serve. When it comes to public organisations, they are always making reference to the free economy and competition, leaving them exposed or even causing them problems. However, when it comes to private companies, then the government follows a strategy of protectionism and promoting their own interests. The author argues that this is what happened in the case of Hellenic Bank, when the government guaranteed the company’s profits with €2.5b, after the latter absorbed the Co-op’s ‘good’ assets. This is how the government is acting also in the case of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. He argues that the government, with different ways and interventions, is causing great delays in the creation of a new electricity production unit. All the while, the president of the Republic recently inaugurated a similar project by a private company. The author argues that the above incident is not a coincidence. He also argues that the government is also protecting private interests in the case of the Ports Authority. Since the privatisation of the Limassol port, the traffic at the port has been reduced, in contrast with the Larnaca port, whose traffic has been increased. And while the Ports Authority is trying to cover the increased needs, the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, arbitrarily and without any rationale behind it, decided to reduce the overtime fees. The government’s decision, was added to the terrible agreement it reached for the privatisation of the port of Limassol, which among other clauses, includes a ceiling on the cargo transported from the Larnaca port. Furthermore, if more than 900.000 tonnes of cargo go through the port per year, the government is obliged to pay compensation to the companies who took up the operation of the Limassol port. The author concludes that the privatisation of the Limassol port, is in its third year and already there is a clear sample for the negative consequences of the privatisation.

Many apartment buildings auctioned-off

Philelefttheros reports that entire apartment-buildings are being auctioned-off by banks, who wish to recover the money owed by their customers. The article reports that announcements in the Press are ongoing and until May, there will be many foreclosures, which sometimes belong to an apartment building. The article reports that while the results of the foreclosures are rather disappointing, the procedures are resuming. An auction that stands out is Bank of Cyprus’ auction of an office in Strovolos on 2 May, along with 13 apartments in the same building. The 150 square metre office, will be auctioned-off at the price of €330.400. As it comes to the apartments, the biggest one (301 sq.m.) will be auctioned for €402.800 and for the other smaller ones (from 68 sq.m. to 94 sq.m.), prices vary from €92.800 to €128.400. Hellenic Bank, on the same day, is foreclosing 4 apartments in the same building.

It wasn’t a disaster

Politis’ article reports that the government’s deal with Hellenic Bank for the Co-op wasn’t a “disaster” as many analysts and politicians are saying. The author argues that all the depositors are now insured and that NPL borrowers are now in a better position in the framework of KEDIPES, which was created to manage the NPLs. The borrowers now have a longer period to pay back their loans and as such, greater ease. Furthermore, all of the Co-op’s employees’ interests have been secured. In general, the banking sector is more steady, after the removal of a large portfolio of NPLs from the system. Indeed, the public debt was increased by €3.5b (due to the purchase of a portfolio of assets with nominal value over €8b), but with KEDIPES’ correct management, the government can finally profit from this investment in the long-term. As such, the author argues, the word “disaster”, which is used so often by MPs and party representatives is more true for the 2013 period, when the taxpayer had to pay €1.8b from the recapitalisation of Laiki Bank, and in less than a year, this bank became bankrupt and billions of customer deposits were lost.

Co-op probe findings to be discussed by House Plenary

Haravgi reports that the findings of the probe charged with investigating the reasons for the collapse of the Co-op, will be discussed today at the House Plenary at 10am. The article reports that the probe’s findings accuse President Anastasiades and the Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades of having heavy responsibilities. The matter was sent for discussion following AKEL’s suggestion after the publication of the report and refusal of Harris Georgiades (and the government in general) to take up their responsibilities. The government and DISY are expected to have their back against the wall, the article reports, with Harris Georgiades being in the most difficult position as the report names him as the person with the most responsibility for the Co-op’s catastrophic course from 2014 and onwards.

Reducing the impact of plastic on the environment

Haravgi reports on the European Parliament’s approval of a law banning one-use plastic items by 2021. It argues that the main goal of the EU’s current initiative is to prevent and reduce marine pollution from one-use plastic objects and maritime tools with plastic ingredients. This strategy already includes specific measures for micro-plastics which have a significant percentage of plastic maritime litter. This report is part of the commitment of the European strategy on plastics with a view to tackle the careless usage of plastic items and the management of harmful plastic waste through legislative action. The proposed new measures will contribute to the transition towards a cyclical economy and the achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals as well as the EU’s climate obligations and industry policy targets. The new measures aim to avoid the emission of 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030 and save consumers a projected €6.5 billion. The new legislation envisages different measures to apply to different product categories: 1) Where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, 2) Member-states should reduce single-use plastic vessels for food and glasses. 3) The producers should help cover the expenditure of managing waste and cleaning as well as measures for awareness-raising. 4) The member-states are obliged to collect 90% of one-use plastic bottles by 2025.

Another strike is underway  

The article reports on the Limassol bus drivers’ indefinite strike. Limassol bus drivers and their unions took their strike to Nicosia today, the third day of the indefinite strike which started on Tuesday morning. Unions SEK and PEO announced the Emel bus employees were gathered outside the transport and labour ministries to protest on Thursday morning. The workers and their unions have called for a meeting with the transport minister and with the labour minister, to discuss the reasons behind the strike – their March salaries have not been paid and workers have still not received outstanding sums from benefit cuts in place since 2014 due to the financial crisis. According to the article another strike is underway. More specifically, the A trailers transporters went on strike a 24-hour strike on Thursday morning, something that will result in complete paralysis of the port of Limassol. In an announcement, Povek said that this strike is due to the service delays at the port.

Government promoting private interests

Article by AKEL Spokesman, Stefanos Stefanou who argues that while the government and ruling party DISY, are saying that they are defenders of the free-market economy and competition, their policies however are always adjusted to the interests they want to serve. When it comes to public organisations, they are always making reference to the free economy and competition, leaving them exposed or even causing them problems. However, when it comes to private companies, then the government follows a strategy of protectionism and promoting their own interests. The author argues that this is what happened in the case of Hellenic Bank, when the government guaranteed the company’s profits with €2.5b, after the latter absorbed the Co-op’s ‘good’ assets. This is how the government is acting also in the case of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. He argues that the government, with different ways and interventions, is causing great delays in the creation of a new electricity production unit. All the while, the president of the Republic recently inaugurated a similar project by a private company. The author argues that the above incident is not a coincidence. He also argues that the government is also protecting private interests in the case of the Ports Authority. Since the privatisation of the Limassol port, the traffic at the port has been reduced, in contrast with the Larnaca port, whose traffic has been increased. And while the Ports Authority is trying to cover the increased needs, the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, arbitrarily and without any rationale behind it, decided to reduce the overtime fees. The government’s decision, was added to the terrible agreement it reached for the privatisation of the port of Limassol, which among other clauses, includes a ceiling on the cargo transported from the Larnaca port. Furthermore, if more than 900.000 tonnes of cargo go through the port per year, the government is obliged to pay compensation to the companies who took up the operation of the Limassol port. The author concludes that the privatisation of the Limassol port, is in its third year and already there is a clear sample for the negative consequences of the privatisation.

Production of electricity from renewable energy sources

A project for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources in order to enter the competitive electricity market was approved yesterday by the Council of Ministers. According to Deputy Government Spokeswoman Mrs. Klelia Vasiliou, the project aims to promote the installation of systems that generate electricity for commercial purposes in order to achieve the national renewable energy sources targets. This project is a support scheme without granting any form of public aid. Mrs. Vasiliou also said that the power of the projects is set at 150 MW and will be negotiated on the basis of the regulations of the electricity market.

The Leviathan pipelines went through Cyprus

Phileleftheros reports that all important materials needed during the last two years – from June 2017 to the present – for the construction of submarine pipelines and fittings used in the connection of the wells of Israel’s “Leviathan” field with our country’s shores went through Cyprus and specifically through the Larnaca port. The complex process of arrival, storage, and especially quality control of pipes and fittings was handled by the Cypriot shipping and technical company Lavar Shipping, a member of the RPT Group, that won the international competition in 2017 for the Leviathan pipeline management contract with Noble Energy Mediterranean. For the maritime service of the project, a number of specialized offshore support vessels were used in Cyprus as well as large floating substation pipelines such as the ‘Audacia’ which were hosted for a considerable period of time and served either via the port of Larnaca or the Limassol port or at the anchorages of the two ports. Noble Energy assigned to Lavar Shipping a number of specialized and important technical tasks, such as the control of the magnetic fields and other properties on a significant number of the pipes.

The tender for the construction of the water supply infrastructure of the casino in Limassol proceeds

The Cabinet, following a proposal by the Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios, authorised yesterday 3 April 2019 the Minister of Agriculture Kostas Kadis to proceed with the establishment of tender criteria for the construction of water supply infrastructure of the casino – resort and other major developments west of Limassol, costing €2.5 million. As stated by Deputy Government Spokeperson Klelia Vassiliou, the terms of the tender will be set by the Water Development Department and other experts. She also said that Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades was authorised to find the corresponding credits with a two-year implementation schedule. Also yesterday, the building permit for the casino – resort was issued.

Works of €2.5 million so that water will reach Limassol casino

Same as above. The article adds another statement from the Deputy Government Spokesperson, Klelia Vasiliou. According to Mrs Vasiliou, the Cabinet approved a proposal by the Deputy Minister of Tourism with regards to the assistance of other Ministries in order to increase the inflows of foreign citizens to Cyprus. An action plan is expected to be submitted for this purpose. As Mrs Vassiliou said, the proposal aims for the 13 Offices of the Deputy Ministry abroad to co-operate and co-ordinate with diplomatic missions, in order to unite financial and human resources. For this purpose, the Ministers of Transport and Tourism were authorised to research and present an action plan at the next Cabinet meeting.

€2.5 million for casino’s water supply

Same as above. The article also mentions various measures discussed at the Cabinet meeting, in order to tackle the consequences of Brexit for British citizens that work in Cyprus.

Leptos Limassol Park: A green heaven

Leptos Estates creates a new unique development for Limassol, ‘Limassol Park’, which will be one of the most luxurious developments for holidays in Cyprus. The project is located in a unique location southwest of the historic center of Limassol, on the peninsula of Akrotiri in one of the greenest areas of Cyprus. The Limassol Mall, the Fassouri waterpark and the famous Lady’s Mile sandy beach, as well as the new City of Dreams Mediterranean Casino Resort are within reach.

A Glossary for addictions

The fight against the stigma of addiction to substances and gambling is being promoted through the glossary for addictions, while enhancing the integration of users into society as well as their attempt to change their lives. This is the third edition of the Good Practice Guide for Media, the result of collaboration between various organisations. It is urged that journalists replace some of the terms phrases and words they use today, giving a more human and scientifically dimension to the phenomenon, while at the same time influencing the citizens accordingly. For example, the word “gambling” should be replaced by “games of chance” or “playing games of chance”.

Paphos in ‘Smart cities’ project – A digital tool for locals and tourists

The Municipality of Paphos has proceeded to provide a valuable tool for every foreign visitor, who wants to get to know the city and receive information about every point of interest by using his mobile phone. The Mayor of Paphos, Phedonas Phedonos awarded Pyramind Services Ltd for the creation of a digital platform for tourism, culture and entrepreneurship, as well as for augmented reality and eGovernment applications, with a €122,570 contract. 

Deputy Ministry of Tourism participates in the project ‘MEDCYCLETOUR’

The Deputy Ministry of Tourism participates in the project ‘MEDCYCLETOUR’, co-funded by the European Union, which aims to use the EuroVelo 8 Mediterranean Cycle Route as a tool for influencing regional and national policies to promote sustainable tourism. The MEDCYCLETOUR project started on 01.02.2017 and will end on 31.01.2020, lasting 36 months. For Cyprus, in particular, a circular route of 11 daily tracks, 35 to 65 km long, has been designed. Within the framework of the project, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism will carry out two pilot actions. Pilot Action 1 concerns signaling the four sections that have been inspected and Pilot Action 2 is about creating cycling-friendly intercity public transport.

GHS: Suggestion for state pharmacies

The Pharmaceutical Services have prepared an action plan for the smooth transition from existing system to the new system within GHS. Their suggestion for continuation of operation of state pharmacies for out-of-hospital patients for a period of at least three months following the implementation of the new GHS, appears to be gaining ground.  The state health services organization (Okypy) informed Politis they are seriously considering the proposal. Subsequently, the GHS beneficiaries, with a few exceptions, will then be able to obtain their medicines from private pharmacies that will join the Health Insurance Organization.

Medical Centres will operate with appointments in GHS

The State Health Services are making feverish preparations as from the 1 June, all the Medical Centres of the Public sector must be ready to operate according to the new system’s regulations. These changes will also inevitably affect the way that citizens will be served. At the same time, OKYPY and the HIO have already proceeded to special measures in order to ensure that referrals for appointments, lab analyses or other out-patient services, will be valid after the 1st of June. Certainly for this matter, there will be detailed announcements in order to inform beneficiaries, of which the majority are seniors. With regards to the preparation of the Medical Centres, OKYPY is now making intense efforts to implement everything on time. All the Medical Centres, with personal doctors, must have the necessary electronic equipment in order to ensure that they have access to the GHS’ software. Furthermore, all Medical Centres will must have an adequate number of officers and administrative personnel, since now the System’s beneficiaries will be able to visit their own personal doctor with whom they have registered, after booking an appointment. This will also happen for the personal doctors of the private sector.

Pediatricians said they will study new HIO proposal

The Pediatric Society of Cyprus has said in an announcement that it will study the HIO’s new updated proposals, in a legal and financial-technical manner, in order to determine whether there is convergence or not. They noted that it is too early to announce any final position. However, they also said that the HIO’s initiative is a one-sided initiative in which their representative negotiator, CyMA did not participate. In another development, the Cabinet yesterday approved the regulations of 2019, on Clinical Labs, after the Ministry of Health Constantinos Ioannou submitted the relevant proposal.

EAC union wants to maintain their Health Fund

Phieleftheros reports that the Electricity Authority of Cyprus has announced that until the GHS is implemented fully and effectively, they will fight to maintain the operation of their Medical Treatment Fund, with a view to protect the health of the organisation’s employees, while they are not competing with the GHS. They report says that when the fund is no longer needed, they will adjust their decision accordingly. They repeat that they support a correctly implemented and effective GHS, adding that they don’t intend to put impede its implementation, while they already participate in it through their and their employer’s contribution to the system, according to the Law.