Cyprus had to take difficult and costly decisions that have put the economy on a positive path, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has said, noting that red tape remains one of the country’s greatest problems.
Addressing the Invest Cyprus annual general meeting, Anastasiades recalled that five years after the 2013 economic crisis Cyprus is back on a positive track with economic growth in the region of 4 percent, registers fiscal surpluses, brought unemployment down to 7 percent, while the economy’s credit rating returned to invest-grade status.
“To achieve these results, we had to take bold decisions, many of which had a high political cost, which we did not weigh,” Anastasiades said.
He recalled that Cyprus had to consolidate public expenditure, adopt tax incentives to foster growth and to attract investments but acknowledged we have not been successful in reducing red tape, despite the implementation of structural reforms.
“Red tape constitutes one of our country’s greatest disadvantages. I hope the political powers will understand that leaps are necessary and that we need to reform the public service in an effective way,” Anastasiades said.
Furthermore, he pointed out that no one would expect that Cyprus would exit the crisis of the magnitude of 2013 in a way that no wounds would remain open.
“We are focusing on addressing problems of vulnerable groups of the population with additional social welfare measures for a fairer distribution of wealth, achieved through the cooperation of public and private sector,” he said.
Invest Cyprus chairman Michalis Michael said that the Agency’s tenth AGM coincides with the return of Cyprus’s credit rating to investment-grade status.
“The government’s efforts in the last six years, prudent economic governance, putting the banking sector on a healthier footing and attracting investments were the key elements that turned the economy to growth,” he said, adding that notable investments with added value were the instrumental for the return to economic growth.
Angelos Gregoriades, President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association, said Cyprus has the capacity to operate as an attractive base for investment funds and fund managers.
Referring to the investment funds sector, Gregoriades said in the last years investment funds in Cyprus have increased by 70 percent while funds under management reached 5.7 billion euros marking an increase of 90 percent. [Kathimerini Cyprus]