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Cyprus Editorial: New Year (ir)resolutions

08 January, 2014 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

The New Year started with as much frustration and disappointment as we had stuffed in our 2012 Christmas stockings going on to 2013. President Anastasiades is struggling with the Cyprob, the economy is still in tatters, his appointments to semi-government organisations smacked of favouritism and there still is no news as regards the casino licensing, oil and gas exploration, an open-skies deal with Russia and cutbacks in public spending.
Worse still, just as we thought that his Finance Minister would revive some glimmer of hope and help us all rebuild the nation and the dismantled economy, Haris Georgiades declared that all capital controls for foreign companies and trade would be lifted in the last quarter of this year. If this is no setback, then what is?
Come on, Mr. President. You’ve been in the job for nine months and instead of fixing many of the awful problems you inherited, you are still working on patch-up jobs. All because some decisions are taking time to implement, which begs the question: who’s the boss?
Start cracking your whip at whoever is not doing his or her job properly. And while you’re at it, get the Attorney General to find ways around sacking people and to do it fast.
We have said it several times to the extent of sounding repetitive and boring, but the SMEs in Cyprus, which are the driving force of the economy, are suffering the most, with little help from anyone. Even the European Investment Bank’s multi-million loan deals under the “JEREMIE” programme are proving useless as companies that are already stretched beyond their limits need to find yet more collateral in order to secure a fresh loan.
Unemployment is galloping and the rigid town planning and municipal regulations prevent resorts such as Protaras from investing more in development and infrastructure.
The sloth-paced bureaucrats are doing nothing to help speed up the decision in Moscow to allow for an “open skies” deal that would see many more airlines and charter operators putting on flights to our island, something that should have been a done deal three months ago.
Privatisations are not imminent which means that employees at several state-owned services and companies will continue to abuse the system and become a burden to the impoverished taxpayer.
And finally, the icing on the cake. The wise men of government announced last week that the civil service (you know, the union-led lazy louts that have caused half the problems to our economy) will be introducing a “universal” work schedule for all public service stations from 8am to 3pm. In other words, they will be working just as before, the only difference now being that “due to heavy workload” a lot of paperwork and data will never be processed in time, resulting in the need for further re-hirings of former government employees who opted for early retirement.
So, Mr President, who’s the boss?
If no one at the Presidential Palace and the Cabinet saw this coming then they are all fools.