articles | 10 October 2014

Cyprus economy showing positive prospects

The economy is showing positive prospects and tangible results, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said recently, but added that efforts to turn it around had to continue.

Georgiades, in Washington DC for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said unemployment was falling for the first time since 2007 and appeared optimistic that the problem with non performing loans would be resolved.

“It is a good chance to have a substantive discussion with the IMF, a pylon of the troika, in relation with the progress in the effort to stabilise, reform, and consolidate the Cypriot economy,” Georgiades told the Athens News Agency.

The minister said Cyprus had come a long way and positive prospects and tangible results were already showing.

“We will brief and discuss this progress with the IMF, at the same time recognising that this effort has not finished,” Georgiades said. “On the contrary, it should continue with the same intensity.”

One of the main problems faced by the banking sector and the economy is the level of non-performing loans, which make up over half of the loan portfolio.

The opposition has criticised the government for not negotiating with international lenders to change the definition of NPLs, which they consider too strict.

“NPLs are not a matter of negotiation. It is a matter of effort and time so that this serious problem begins to gradually abate,” he said. A problem allowed to get worse through reckless lending, he added.

Although Cyprus has received good reviews on meeting its bailout commitments, lenders are now withholding a new tranche of aid worth about €435 million until authorities produce an effective foreclosures law which would allow banks to manage rising non-performing debts.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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