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YEARS of omissions and delays have forced the government to submit provisional immovable property tax legislation (IPT) in a bid to meet immediate bailout conditions, but which will have to be amended by the end of June to make it fairer, spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.The spokesman said authorities lacked sufficient data to prepare a comprehensive proposal but at the same time the bill had to be approved in the next few days for Cyprus to be eligible for the much-needed first tranche of a €10 billion bailout at the beginning of May. “Unfortunately, past omissions and shortcomings have resulted in insufficient data,” Stylianides said, adding that the government could not accept the current distortions in the system... 25 comments
THE government yesterday put the blame squarely on the previous administration for the spectacular increase in the bailout cost for Cyprus within the space of a few months.In doing so, the DISY-led administration appeared to be confirming a draft assessment prepared by the European Commission, revealed by Reuters on Wednesday, according to which Cyprus’ total financing needs now stand at €23bn.By contrast, the preliminary bailout agreement struck between international lenders and the previous administration last November was thought to be worth €17.5bn to which international lenders would contribute €10 billion and Cyprus the remainder.Now Cyprus must stump up €13 billion. ... 55 comments
THE government yesterday decided to keep national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY) flying, at least throughout the summer, but measures to restructure the company must be fully accepted by staff.“This is a crucial condition,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides said after a cabinet meeting yesterday. “Keeping the company alive with the aim of selling it to a strategic investor is based on the responsible stance of all those involved.”The measures include cutting staff by 560 immediately, a 17 per cent cut in salaries and reducing the fleet to six aircraft from 10.Unions said the provident fund of those being laid off was not secured and there was no gratuitous compensation... 14 comments
A CHINESE company is interested in buying ailing national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY), it was revealed yesterday.In a statement to investors, CY said officials from Beijing Yi Xiang Da Investment Co Ltd held talks with finance ministry and airline officials.Signs for a conclusion appear to be encouraging, the airline said, but there has not been an agreement yet.The government said it was prepared to talk to anyone with the aim of finding a strategic investor... 22 comments
THE government plans to trim redundant personnel serving abroad, among others, as part of a broader drive to curb the state payroll.The President has asked the Defence Ministry to explore the possibility of reducing the number of military attaches serving with Cypriot embassies overseas, the government spokesman said yesterday.But the cutbacks would not be at the expense of the country’s level of representation abroad, Christos Stylianides said.Despite the cost-cutting policy, the Cypriot diplomatic mission to Portugal is to be upgraded to an embassy, but this would be done purely for “political reasons,” he added... 6 comments
THE government yesterday denied it is having second thoughts about a bill for civil partnerships, adding it fully intends to table the legislation to parliament.Government spokesman Christos Stylianides dismissed media speculation that the government would rethink the matter due to opposition from the Church.“The position of the government and of Nicos Anastasiades, both as presidential candidate and now as President, is that such a bill will be promoted,” said Stylianides... 3 comments