Address by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at the Cyprus Investors Summit:
It is a great pleasure to be here tonight to address this truly distinguished audience gathered in Cyprus for this exceptional event organized by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA).
The presence of international investors of the highest calibre, high-level executives from prominent companies, banks and institutions, highlights both the importance and the level that this very first Investors Summit managed to reach. Thank you all for being here, as your presence in Cyprus confirms your trust in the country’s potential. Allow me to congratulate CIPA for undertaking this initiative, which we shall support in every way possible.
This meeting takes place at a turning point in the contemporary history of Cyprus, as it finds the country entering a new era.
Today, I can state with confidence and certainty that we have turned the page. I can state with confidence and certainty that the economy is now on the road towards full recovery.
The financial sector has been restructured and recapitalised, mainly through big international investors, and our credit institutions have passed with success the recent European stress tests. Fiscal imbalances have been addressed and important structural reforms are well underway.
Cyprus is returning to the international markets, far earlier than anyone predicted.
Our international lenders have themselves recognized the continuous improvements and praised Cyprus on many occasions, while the international rating agencies have upgraded the economy and its outlook.
Despite the unnecessary, in my opinion, delay in the conclusion of the 5th review of the Economic Adjustment Programme, due to the suspension of the application ofthe foreclosures law by the Parliament, we remain fully on track. We remain fully committed towards the implementation of the Programme.
Modern, successful nations need to be business-friendly in order to survive. After all, at the end of the day, it is not Governments that drive the economy; it is the private sector and foreign direct investments. That is why, having maintained a stable and investment friendly tax regime, we are determined to proceeding with the implementation of a series of bold structural reforms.
Our only objective is to boost the country’s global competitiveness and to make Cyprus one of the best places globally to start and grow a business.
We firmly believe that the state’s role is not to substitute business, but to create optimal conditions for business to flourish.
We are placing emphasis on developing an attractive business environment that will enhance the competitiveness and performance of local and foreign investment. And to achieve this, we have developed a comprehensive growth reform strategy, which will curb bureaucracy and red tape, simplify procedures and regulation, and create a more enabling business and investment environment.
We are working hard to further enhance our country’s established reputation as a centre of excellence for international investment and business activities. Visible growth opportunities are evident in numerous economic sectors; shipping, tourism and the hospitality industry, land development, information and communication technologies, education, health, professional services, renewable energy and of course hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation, to mention the most immediate ones.
Along these lines, the procedures for the licensing and operation of an integrated casino resort, unique for regional and European standards, as well as the plans for the development of the Ayia Napa Marina are swiftly progressing and keen investor interest is already being seen.
My Government has notably placed foreign investments at the top of its agenda from day one and in that respect has greatly facilitated them through measures that include, among others, reducing the time needed to issue permits, simplifying administrative procedures, licensing and encouraging the timely completion of projects.
Furthermore, we have been very active in providing incentives that make proposals for investments in a number of fields significantly more attractive.
In parallel to the structural reforms and incentives that I have previously mentioned, we have embarked on an ambitious privatisation programme of state owned enterprises, that we are confident will attract sound and sizeable foreign investments, while also allowing the organisations in question and their stakeholders to benefit in different ways.
It is through these reforms and a new mind-set that we aim to create the solid foundations of a more multi-faceted and viable economic model for Cyprus.
It is of paramount importance to demonstrate the overall advantages that Cyprus has to offer to international businesses, and especially to underline that these have not been undermined by the financial crisis:
Cyprus is an EU member state, with a fully EU harmonised tax and legal system which is simple, transparent and based on English Common Law.
Cyprus offers one of the most competitive corporate tax systems in the EU in addition to over 52 double tax treaties in force.
Cyprus offers top quality professional services and support through its highly qualified and multilingual workforce.
Furthermore, Cyprus offers a highly developed infrastructure, enviable quality of life combined with fabulous weather, beautiful nature, art and culture, safety, security, and above all, hospitable people.
My Government has its priorities clearly set out. The positive results shall not lead to complacency. Positive developments and evaluations shall not mean the slowing of our efforts.
On the contrary, we shall continue to:
Foster an open and transparent legal environment.
Further improve our business-friendly environment, and
Provide incentives for businesses to develop.
We acknowledge the difficulties. But we have a plan and we are implementing it.
My Government will offer any assistance deemed necessary towards this shared goal and will do its best to facilitate and accommodate any feasible business and investment proposals put forward by you all.
I am confident that this event will help you identify new and excitinginvestment opportunities, whilst also provide additional insight regarding the business environment in Cyprus.
In closing, I would once again like to thank the organizers and express my sincere appreciation for their efforts and hard work in promoting Cyprus as an attractive destination for foreign investors.
I wish everybody a pleasant stay and every success in your current and future business endeavours.
Source: Famagusta Gazette