Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades outlined on Monday the government’s eleven reform proposals calling on the political parties to support their implementation which “would yield new prospects and new momentum to the business activity.”
Addressing the annual meeting of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Anastasiades assured that the government policy to provide tax breaks and economic incentives will continue.
In his speech, Anastasiades praised the CCCI cooperation in overcoming the 2013 financial crisis and the achievement of the recovery in the ensuing years.
The President outlined the government’s reform actions that cover the justice system, the reform in the public service, the promotion of e-governance, the municipal reform, the implementation of a national strategy on Tourism and the simplification of large projects licensing process.
He also referred to the development of the Investment Funds sector, the drafting of a national plan for blockchain technology, the establishment of an insurance and provident fund regulatory authority, the establishment of social corporations, as well as the partial privatization of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, as well as the privatization of the Stock Exchange and the State Lottery.
“We will continue working with the same consistency and determination to create a modern, sustainable and flexible state, with a view to securing growth prospects in a particularly competitive and rapidly changing environment,” the President added, expressing hope the political parties will acknowledge the benefits these reforms could provide to the citizens and support their implementation.
Recalling that through rationalizing the public finances, the government was able to lower the tax burden during the crisis, Anastasiades said the government will continue this policy.
He said that a bill for the termination of the tax duty has been tabled to the Parliament for approval, adding that a public consultation will begin next year for the Green tax reform.
On his part, Christodoulos Angastiniotis stressed that fiscal discipline should continue with constant monitoring of inflexible public spending. Angastiniotis said that the state should increase spending to facilitate growth and should earmark sizable funds in the future budgets for public debt reduction, adding that the state should combat tax evasion where needed.
The CCCI president also called for reforms such as privatization of state-owned enterprises that operate in conditions of competition, outsourcing of state services to the private sector, the reassessment of the pension system to tackle distortions, as well as the improvement of public transport.
Despite strong performance, the economy continues to face inherent problems and scars such as non-performing loans, the looming failure of the government scheme ESTIA and bank consolidation, he added.
Angastiniotis also warned on the rise of the state wage-bill stressing that its annual percentage rise should not exceed the annual GDP change.