articles | 04 March 2014

Cyprus parliament approves privatisations bill

Parliament approves an amended bill on privatisations, which will lead to the modernisation and reform of SGOs and help pave the way to economic recovery.

The Parliament adopted an amended bill on the privatisation of semi-government organisations (SGOs) with 30 votes in favour, 26 against and no abstentions. Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides and Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades welcomed the result of the vote, noting that the implementation of the bill will lead to the modernisation and reform of SGOs and pave the way to economic recovery.

The new bill includes amendments, which were discussed with the parliamentary parties and were approved by the Finance Minister. The privatisation of SGO’s is one of the preconditions set in Cyprus’ bailout agreement with international lenders (European Commission, ECB, IMF). The new vote followed the rejection by the House of a previous bill recently, with 25 lawmakers in favour, 25 against, and five abstentions.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades applauded the vote and said it ensured Cyprus stayed on stable path. "Apart from being an obligation, the privatisation programme is also an opportunity to attract investment, bolster efficiency and competitiveness and shed the weight of state control on significant sectors of the economy,'' said Georgiades.

The bill provides the legal framework, which oversees the privatisation of SGOs and the establishment of relevant bodies in charge of the process. As part of the commitment to pay down debt, Cyprus was expected to approve the privatisation of the three major semi-state organizations Telecommunications Authority, the Electricity Authority and the Ports Authority by March 5.

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