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Daily Press Review – 5/12/2019



To those boasting

Opinion editorial, criticising the government for expecting gratitude for fixing the economy. It relays the events as such: in December 2013, Bank of Cyprus’ (BoC) CEO at the time John Hourican revealed that 20 debtors owed the bank €6b. This means an average of €300m per debtor. We took a loan from the IMF for €1b, which is equal to what three debtors owed to BoC. We resorted to the European Stability Mechanism for a sum that equalled what 30 such debtors owed. With €1.5b, which accounts for what five of those debtors owed, the Co-op was recapitalised and 200,000 households lost their prop. And with €35m, which is around one ninth of what such a debtor owed, someone could acquire a 30% stake in Hellenic Bank.

 

Hellenic Bank reduces its interest rates

In line with its methodology to calculate its base rates, Hellenic Bank has announced the reduction of its Reference rate from 0.33% to 0.18%, as of 18 November 2019. As a result, its base rates have changed as follows: Base rate from 3.09% to 2.94%; Base Rate for corporate loans from 2.09% to 1.94%; Base Rate for corporate overdrafts from 2.09% to 1.94%; Base Rate for housing loans from 1.49% to 1.34%; Base Rate for housing loans (which is connected with HB’s Base Rate) from 2.34% to 2.19%; and Main Base Rate from 0.33% to 0.18%. Furthermore, as regards the Base Rates that were formerly set by the Cyprus Co-operative Bank, these will be reduced by 15 basis points. “Keeping to the terms of the relevant agreements you have signed, it is noted that the abovementioned affect the credit facilities that were granted to you by the Bank and which are priced based on any of the Base Rates of the Bank, as well as the facilities that were transferred to Hellenic Bank from the former CCB and which are priced based on any of the Base Rates that were previously determined by the former CCB,” HB said.

 

900 youth looking for a job at “Get A Job” expo

The 3rd annual “Get A Job” expo was completed, with the participation of 65 Cypriot and European companies and organisations that have job vacancies and which were looking for staff. Some 900 youths visited the expo to seek employment and be updated on the prospects for employment. The expo was organised by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and EURES, on 28 November in Limassol. The participating companies were: Advance Career, Amdocs, Baker Tilly, BDO, Career Finders, Carrierista, Costa Coffee, Codavi International, CTC, D.G. Techlink, Dexterity Solutions, Eminentia Trading LTD, Enoros Consulting Ltd, G.A.P. Vassilopoulos, G4S Secure Solutions (Cyprus), Grant Thornton, Handy Spa, Harris Kyriakides LLC, Hellenic Bank, HR Innovative, IKEA, Intersport, iSPIRAL, KC Firiakis Services, Lanitis Entertainment Ltd, Lidl, Logicom, Louis Hotels, Marks & Spencer, NCR Corporation, Parimatch, PHC Franchised Restaurants Public, Plan Bee, Plath, Prime XM, Protoio, Pwc Cyprus, Relia Trading Ltd, Remedica, St. Raphael Resort & Marina, TGI Fridays / Hard Rock Café, Uniteam Global business Services, Πανεπιστήμιο UCLan Cyprus, Rotos Group, KPMG, K. Treppides & CO Ltd, Powerhouse.

 

How social media can contribute to your professional goals

Hellas Direct presents The Limassol Star Speaker Show on Thursday, 12 December at the Carob Mill Complex in Limassol. The world is moving fast, creating loads of challenges and disruption or opportunity and learning depending on how you choose to think about it. The biggest trends that we see today are the digital revolution and how leaders manage effective human-machine interaction. So what are the skillsets needed to adapt and thrive in this era of dynamism, uncertainty and complexity? This cross-industry event is dedicated to helping professionals improve their leadership skills, marketing tools and business development strategies. Sponsors (to date):  Hellenic Bank, Parimatch, SoEasy Stores.

 

Profits of €34.8m

Eurobank Cyprus announced that it recorded profits of €34.8m in the first nine months of 2019, compared with profits of €32.8m in the same period of 2018. Its capital adequacy ratio was 22.6% (from 25.7% last year) and its CET1 ratio was also 22.6% (from 25.7% in the first nine months of 2018). Deposits totalled €5,638m (€4,656m last year) while the loans to deposits ratio (excluding loans with deposits as collateral) reached 29%, from 28%. The NPE ratio (based on the new guidelines of the European Banking Authority) remains particularly low, at 4.1%, compared with 4% last year. “The Bank’s strong financial position, as shown by the successive positive results, has consolidated its leading presence in Cyprus in the sectors of Wealth Management, Corporate and Investment Banking, International Business Banking, and Capital Markets,” the bank said. “Our perpetual positive results prove that Eurobank Cyprus continues on its upward course with steady steps, having its customer-centric operating model and rational risk manage as its foundation. We continue to support the economy and sustainable growth initiatives, but also to create jobs in line with the growth of our operations,” it said.

 

ETYK warns KEDIPES, Altamira it will take measures

Bank employees’ union ETYK has warned state asset management company KEDIPES and Altamira that it will take strong measures if they fail to grant their employees their annual increments and the Cost of Living Allowance, and if they fail to reinstate the cuts that were made to the employees’ salaries and benefits. In a circular, ETYK said: “Taking into consideration the delay by the company to comply with its contractual and legal obligations, and this ongoing difficult and exhausting situation that our colleagues have been in for a period of time, the union has decided to cover the legal expenses for all the employees who wish to take legal action against the company’s administration, to go after their rights.” It said that it would wait for the company to call a meeting over the coming days, during which any pending issues must be settled, especially when it comes to the renewal of the collective agreement. Failure to respond positively will see the union react with dynamic measures, it said.

 

DBRS – Commission’s proposal for NPLs is positive

Rating agency DBRS has said that the European Commission’s proposal for an out-of-court mechanism to recover the value from loans guaranteed with collateral in case the borrower is not able to pay it back is positive. However, it notes that this will not help in the major issue of existing NPLs. But it conceded that this will help deal with a large number of NPLs across Europe. Especially in countries where time-consuming legal procedures are hindering efforts to reduce problematic loans. DBRS provides information on countries that have amassed large numbers of old NLs in the banking sector, which haven’t been serviced for more than five years. “When we observe the duration of the volume of the NPLs, compared with other countries, Cyprus and Greece have a large number of old loans that are pending, compared with loans that stopped being serviced recently, or that cannot possibly be repaid and have not yet expired,” it said. In contrast, the majority of the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the UK only have a small number of NPLs that have been pending for more than five years.

 

Control over funds for Estia scheme

The majority of amendments made by MPs to the 2020 state budget have to do with crossing funds, which means these funds can only be released following parliament’s approval. Some of the amendments have the support of more than party. For example, AKEL, DIKO and EDEK have asked for the funds for the Estia scheme to be crossed. The amendments will be examined today during an extraordinary House Finance Committee meeting.

 

No more guarantees for foreign workers

Foreign workers will no longer be obliged to pay guarantees for their employment, if a law proposal set to be put to the vote at tomorrow’s House Plenum is passed. The proposal was submitted by ruling DISY’s Marios Mavrides and is supported by all the parties. Its aim is to amend the relevant law, which provides that foreigners need to deposit a guarantee in their employer’s bank account in order to acquire a residence and employment permit, in order to cover any expenses that may arise to repatriate them.

 

Bank of Cyprus rewards strong academic performance

Bank of Cyprus rewards strong academic performance as part of its CSR programme. During the Open University’s graduation ceremony, BoC granted monetary prizes to the graduate who received the highest grades in a post-grad programme, and another two to students who received the highest grades in the Economic Sciences and Administration Academy.

 

Rea resigns from oversight committee

Accountant General of the Republic Rea Georgiou has resigned from the three-member committee in charge of overseeing the concession of Cypriot citizenships as part of the island’s citizenship-by-investment scheme. The committee was appointed by the Cabinet following the recent controversy that followed revelations over citizenships being granted to questionable individuals. Following Georgiou’s resignation, the committee’s chairmanship will be taken up by the chairwoman of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, Demetra Kalogerou. Georgiou will be replaced by the deputy Accountant General. Law Office representative Elli Flourentzou remains in her post. Kalogerou told Economy Today that she intents to call a meeting next week to decide the committee’s next steps and make important decisions.

 

Christmas on the Sea

Christmas is undoubtedly the most exciting time of year, and what better than to begin this festive season with the lighting of the most popular Christmas tree in Limassol, 12 meters high! Visit the Limassol Marina Square, on Saturday 7 December 2019 at 4pm, for a unique experience, the magic of Christmas and the Lighting of the Christmas tree on sea!

 

No information on Larnaca port

The article states that the Larnaca Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI)  is concerned about the lengthy negotiations of the responsible ministry with the Israeli investors as well as about the complete lack of information on the subject. As Chamber we are concerned about the delay involved in the conclusion of the negotiations with the potential investors, President of Larnaca CCCI, Stavros Stavrou said. He went on to say that a meeting would be called with the new Minister of Transport, Communications, and Works Yiannis Karousos in order to thoroughly discuss the issue and inform members of the chamber on the status. The CCCI President also said that the timetable for the relocation of the oil storage facilities from Larnaca to Vasilikos will be difficult to keep for the end of 2020, and this will result in delay in the Larnaca – Dekeleia road development.

 

Donmez: New drillings under Libya agreement 

Turkey – in light of the recent memorandum it has signed with Libya – is planning new drillings and investigations in areas of its maritime jurisdiction, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said, further fuelling the already tense climate with Greece and Cyprus. “Under the agreement (with Libya), our companies will start oil and gas explorations in the areas we will be licensing, as has been done in other areas.” Fatih Dönmez argued, of course, that the agreement should be approved by the parliaments of both countries first, and then investigations west of the Eastern Mediterranean will begin. At the same time, the Turkish Minister of Energy claimed that “with the memorandum with Libya we prevented those who have tried to exclude Turkey from the equation in the Eastern Mediterranean”, noting that Turkey has already carried out 4 drills and is proceeding with a fifth one focusing now more on the south of Cyprus. Fatih Dönmez reiterated once again that Turkey would protect both its own rights and interests and those of the Turkish Cypriots.

 

Quotes from colossus companies for the Eurosia Interconnector

Top international companies including the largest in Europe have expressed interest and submitted their quotes for the Eurasia Interconnector substations at, Kofinou in Cyprus, Hadera in Israel, and Crete. The cost of constructing the substations is estimated at € 710 million. The large interest demonstrates the significance of the project as well as the confidence shown in this extremely important work for Cyprus. The world’s leading organization is included among the companies. The pipeline will connect the national networks in the field of energy in Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

 

The EEZ war in the Eastern Mediterranean

A few decades ago, hydrocarbon extraction at sea was technically feasible and economically feasible only in shallow waters (up to 500 meters deep) and therefore there was no attempt by coastal states and companies to exploit offshore wealth. Because of this fact, the Montego Bay International Convention for the definition of EEZs, although valid since 1982, had not become so important. In the 21st century, technology in the field of drilling and hydrocarbon mining has taken tremendous strides, and drilling rigs can now reach up to 10,000 meters deep. Given the ever-increasing energy demand worldwide and the ever-increasing price of gas and oil, mining at very deep levels is very profitable. In the last decade, the discovery of natural gas outside territorial waters but within the EEZ Egypt-Israel and the Republic of Cyprus (at a distance of approximately 100 nautical miles off the coast of each state) confirms the long-term study of the US Geological Survey (USG), according to which in the Eastern Mediterranean there are more than 300+ trillion cubic feet (tcf) deposits that can be extracted with great economic benefit by today’s technical means. Only 5% have been discovered so far, so it is obvious that the EEZ and gas war in the Eastern Mediterranean is still a long way off. These information is well-known worldwide and coastal states are now focusing on harnessing their underwater wealth, with the first action being the agreement with opposite coastal states to define their EEZ.

 

Cyprus Hotel Association: Attractive offers for Christmas and New Years

Attractive holiday packages Christmas and New Year have been prepared by members of the Cyprus Hotel Association according to a statement by the Association. Offers are for Cypriots. Those interested may visit the website www.cyprushotelassociation.org Festive Christmas Packages 2019 New Year for information.

 

Interview with Pantelis Leptos, Deputy Chairman of Leptos Group

The site interviews Pantelis Leptos, Deputy Chairman of Leptos Group, who among other was asked to give further details about the Group’s investments, vision and plans for Limassol, to which he replied that the projects that are under development in Limassol will create up to 1,000 new jobs during their construction, as well as over 200 permanent jobs upon the projects’ completion. The company’s vision for Limassol is in line with the local authority’s vision, which sees Limassol as a significant city, not only in the business sector, but also in the tourism and entertainment industry; a city which attracts both businesspeople as well as high-net worth tourists. Leptos Group was one of the first companies to believe in the local authority’s vision, and dared to invest in the city’s centre towards the Western Limassol area, envisioning Limassol in 2025. Mr. Leptos noted that today, giant companies from across the globe have invested in Limassol’s centre and Western area, establishing the area as the heart of the Cypriot economy. Mr. Leptos referred to the Casino Resort by Melco from Hong Kong as an example, the biggest investment to have ever taken place in Cyprus. Speaking about the group’s recent investment in Limassol Blu Marina in Limassol, he praises the hotel’s location which is close to the sea but in the heart of Limassol’s centre, while also being 5-minutes away from the Casino Resort, the new Golf, as well as My Mall. The collection of billions worth of investments, from both the public and the private sector, in a really small area, provide the right conditions for development, something that the Group calls “Europe’s New Riviera”. Cyprus is finally getting entertainment for high-net worth persons (casino, golf, marina etc.), and 300000 new tourist arrivals are expected just from the establishment of the casino.

 

Tourist growth in Nicosia with new hotels

A facelift of the capital’s hotels is expected to upgrade Nicosia’s outdated touristic image, at least in terms of its hotel industry. There are 7 new hotels and 3 rebranding projects (Holiday Inn-Wyndam Grand, former Hilton-Landmark, Hilton Park-Hilton). According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) 2018 report, Cyprus still has a long way to go in terms of business tourism, as Cyprus holds the 63rd spot globally with just 37 conferences annually, and the 32nd spot in Europe among 41 countries. Comparing 2018 with the previous year, Limassol is shown to have made significant progress within a year, which is expected to be further strengthened by the casino’s operation in 2021. In contrast to Nicosia which has recorded a large drop.

 

Sunset Gardens: New residential development

The Department of Environment has received an application for the construction of a new housing development “Sunset Gardens” in the Tserkezoi area in Limassol. The proposed project of “Citrus Gardens Development LTD” concerns a gated residential development, which will be rich in facilities. It’s worth noting that the location for the project is in close proximity to My Mall, and even closer to the under-construction ICR in Limassol.

 

Supplementary budget for OKYPY heading for approval

The second supplementary budget for the state health services organisation (OKYPY) is expected to be unanimously approved at tomorrow’s House Plenum. Even though the House Health Committee MPs unanimously gave the “green light” for the budget’s approval, they still expressed their frustration at the delays observed in the process for the state hospitals’ autonomisation. According to the Committee’s report accompanying the supplementary budget, the funds of €5,173,181 are to go towards covering the costs for hiring staff at the new positions for reception staff, IT officials, department heads, service managers and the director of the transplant centre, the submission of benefits, the purchase of medicines and the purchase of an IT system. Among other, the report also mentions that following a Cabinet decision that as of 1 September 2019, fifteen pharmacies will remain open to cover the needs of patients in isolated areas, the OKYPY board deemed it necessary to purchase medicines to cover the needs up until the end of 2019. The funds will also go towards purchasing a Laboratory Information System to complete the process to connect all the labs with the HIO’s system, for the correct submission of claims to the HIO (claims are currently sent either through fax or not sent at all, resulting in the HIO recording losses). Analytically: €190,053 will go towards the salaries of 37 new employees; €4,160 towards a liability allowance for the director of the Transplant Centre; €24,000 towards paying staff in rural areas; €460,037 towards six months of overtime worked by medical staff; €979,600 flat-rate overtime pay for medical staff; €68,920 for on-call pay; €415,918 for holiday and Sunday pay; €1,522,820 for standby allowance; €507,673 for social security contributions; €500,000 for purchase of medicines to cover isolated areas; €500,000 for purchase of LIS system.

 

Dialogue for the sake of dialogue

PASYKI’s Soteris Koumas yesterday insisted that the dialogue between the doctors and OKYPY was taking place just for the sake of dialogue. He said that there are many pending issues and said indicatively that no one knows how the hospitals will operate in the second phase of the GHS. Expressing strong concern over the mass departure of doctors from the hospitals, Koumas referred to the incentive scheme for general practitioners and specialist doctors, saying the consultations were not getting anywhere, which was why the three-hour work stoppage was decided. He also appeared annoyed that the letter sent by PASYKI to the Health Ministry was leaked to the media.

 

Incentives of €11m

Perhaps the biggest point of dispute between the OKYPY and PASYKI at the moment concerns the financial incentives for government doctors. OKYPY’s 2020 budget includes a fund of €11m that will be given as financial incentives to GHS doctors. According to the lengthy explanatory note, the 110 practitioners will receive a percentage in the range of 9.4% of the HIO’s compensation from their registration in the list of beneficiaries for the first 500 who are registered, and 15% for the rest, with a maximum number of 2,500 patients. Calculating an average of 1,000 beneficiaries being registered in 2020 per doctor, the OKYPY estimates that the cost of this incentive will total €1.3m. For the 40 paediatricians, OKYPY will offer 7.5% for the first 300 that are registered, and 15% from there on, with a maximum number of 2,500 patients. The OKYPY estimates an average of 400 beneficiaries per doctor in 2020, with the total sum expected to be €202,500. The budget also provides for financial incentives to the 680 specialist doctors totalling €8.9m.

 

OKYPY budget – 119 new jobs

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou yesterday said his ministry’s budget provided for expenditure of €460m and that it was balanced, after it was approved by Cabinet. Among other, the budget provides for the opening of 119 new job vacancies, on top of the 350 positions that were approved for 2019 for administrative and supporting staff.

 

The parties’ crosses

The House Finance Committee will convene in an extraordinary meeting today to examine a series of funds in the 2020 state budget that were crossed by parties (meaning that they will have to be approved by the Committee in order to be released). Among them are funds designated for the restructuring and autonomisation of the state hospitals, which were crossed by EDEK.

 

Medochemie supports our champions on their way to Tokyo

Medochemie “adopted” three athletes through the “Adopt an athlete on their way to Tokyo” programme by the Cyprus Olympic Committee, which aims to attract sponsors for the elite athletes of Cyprus, supporting their efforts in the 2020 Olympic games. Welcoming the three athletes to the Medochemie family, Nicos Christides, Medochemie’s Cyprus Sales Department Manager, said that in a modern society it’s necessary to showcase role-models and promote morals and values, and to this end Medochemie puts in practice its Corporate Social Responsibility by supporting Cypriot athletes on their difficult way to championship.

“Planning a future without cigarettes”

Representatives and scientists of Philip Morris International met with media representatives in Nicosia, where they presented among others the IQOS product. During the presentation entitled “Planning for a future without cigarettes”, they presented findings of research studies investigating the transition from conventional cigarettes to IQOS. “Studies have shown that the full transition from cigarettes to IQOS reduces the risk of developing diseases associated with smoking, as well as reduces the body’s exposure to harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.” “IQOS is exclusively targeted to adult smokers who want to continue enjoying tobacco or nicotine products. IQOS is not offered to persons who’ve never smoked or have quit consuming other tobacco/nicotine products.”

 

Deryneia puts an end to plastic straws

Deryneia municipality announced yesterday that it will put an end to the wide use of plastic straws, as it’s extremely harmful to the environment. The goal is to establish the Deryneia municipality as the first municipality across the Republic of Cyprus to put an end to plastic straws.

Οι ιδιοκτήτες της ιστοσελίδας www.politis.com.cy διατηρούν το δικαίωμα να αφαιρούν σχόλια αναγνωστών, δυσφημιστικού και/ή υβριστικού περιεχομένου, ή/και σχόλια που μπορούν να εκληφθεί ότι υποκινούν το μίσος/τον ρατσισμό ή που παραβιάζουν οποιαδήποτε άλλη νομοθεσία. Οι συντάκτες των σχολίων αυτών ευθύνονται προσωπικά για την δημοσίευση τους. Αν κάποιος αναγνώστης/συντάκτης σχολίου, το οποίο αφαιρείται, θεωρεί ότι έχει στοιχεία που αποδεικνύουν το αληθές του περιεχομένου του, μπορεί να τα αποστείλει στην διεύθυνση της ιστοσελίδας για να διερευνηθούν.