articles | 19 January 2016

Cyprus heads towards end of bailout, says Finance Minister

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has said that Cyprus is set to exit a three-year economic adjustment program under a €10 billion bailout memorandum at the end of March 2016.

Georgiades, who led the campaign for the application of the adjustment program involving austerity measures, a reform of the public service and a resolution of the banking system, said international lenders do not demand mass privatizations of state-owned businesses.

"After March the troika will not have any demands from Cyprus and planning will be made exclusively by Cypriot authorities," said Georgiades referring to the group of international lenders, the Eurogroup through the European Commission, and the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He said the last requirement remaining is to set up a private law company with the government as its sole partner to take over and reform the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority.

But Georgiades cautioned that after exiting the bailout program there must not be a let up in applying reforms and checking public sector spending.

Cyprus has already accepted to privatize the Stock Exchange and the Public Lottery and hand commercial operations at Limassol's port to private enterprise.

The Ministry of Commerce is expected to award to successful bidders three sectors of operations at the port.

A senior European Commission official said last week that he expects Cyprus to successfully complete its bailout program and receive the tranche of international aid amounting to €400 million.

Cyprus did not need to draw €2.5 billion out of the bailout sum.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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