Public-private partnership for port security systems The government is promoting the concession of the security for the 12 biggest ports of Greece to a public-private partnership (PPP). In the next few days, it will proclaim a tender to commission a consultant. The project of installing security systems at ports via a PPP has a 340-million-euro budget and the contract with the private party will have an eight-year duration, while its payment will also derive from the container levy that the state receives today. The fact that a consultant will be hired to realize this PPP contract is crucial, as the state will not determine the technical specifications of the security systems but only the level of security desired for port installations as defined by community and international regulations. IMF says Turkey tax cut inconsistent with pledges ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s proposed value-added tax cuts, and any other tax incentives, would be inconsistent with its commitments to the International Monetary Fund, IMF senior resident representative Hugh Bredenkamp said yesterday. He told Reuters that Turkey had not consulted the IMF on the proposed tax cuts in the key tourism sector and on food and that it was awaiting further information on the planned changes. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said on Thursday that the planned value-added tax cut on the tourism sector and food were not contrary to Turkey’s IMF loan accord. Under the plan, VAT across Turkey’s crucial foreign currency-earning tourism sector would be cut to 8 percent from 18 percent. Inflows of shipping currency Shipping currency inflows in Greece showed an annual increase of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, rising to 3,659.4 million euros from 3,548 million euros in the same period last year, according to preliminary data by the Bank of Greece. In March 2007, the inflows came to 1,308.1 million euros against 1,275.8 million euros in March 2006, an annual rise of 2.5 percent. Tourism photo competition The Tourism Development Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) this week opened a tourism photography competition in the context of promoting Greece’s tourism. The subjects of the competition are: Tourism and Culture, Tourism and Vacations, and Tourism and Major Greek Cities. There is also a tourism photography competition for young people aged 12-17 years and a competition for designing a tourism poster. Participants can send their entries to the GNTO by June 5. For more information visit www.gnto.gr. BoC satisfaction Bank of Cyprus (BoC) expressed its satisfaction yesterday with the support of its shareholders, including the powerful Orthodox Church of Cyprus, which led to the withdrawal of Marfin Popular Bank’s offer for a partial merger with BoC. It also considered «significant» the decision by the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition to fully examine the concentration of an 8 percent stake in BoC by Marfin, according to the country’s law.