CYPRUS: The monster is reappearing

04 August, 2018 | Posted By: Antonis Loizou

We wonder if there are people in this country with a basic brain who are trying to destroy the Cyprus economy at a time that it is on the trucks of recovery. 

And to this we must consider the dangerous path that this Government is following with various handouts, increases for the civil servants, the handouts to various pressure groups for which encourages the appetite of demand for other groups, of all sorts.

We wonder with what logic some people insist that shops should be closed at weekends on the one hand while all of us, including the President of the Republic is trying to attract foreign investors to the island.


According to the Ministry of Labour the extension of working hours of shops and supermarkets and malls during weekends has secured 7,000 jobs, be it at a low income of €500 p.m. (2 days a week).  We are shocked by a female worker protesting outside parliament, stating that her €500/p.m. income does not cover her rent and living expenses and she cannot cope. 


So, and referring to some of our MPs who get a well-paid salary, plus their income from other jobs, can philosophize on the subject claiming that €500 income p.m. (weekends) is low and thus these jobs should be scrapped.  We say yes, but it is €500 more than what they have been getting so far (as opposed to their minimum wage unemployment benefit of €330 p.m.).


The argument that shops should close on weekends is dangerous.  Will the old Nicosia city, the Limassol castle area, the Paphos port, the old town of Larnaca, who are now thriving after years of efforts for their revival close down?  What is a shop dear reader?  If one wants to be equally treated in this country, not only shops, malls, but restaurants and even offices should not be allowed to work over weekends!!  Similarly, the Ayia Napa tourist shop areas should close.  Are we serious?


As far as we are concerned we find Sunday supermarket shopping most convenient and this is born out by the number of visitors who shop over the weekends. 


We note that people who shop on weekends are mainly professionals and others including whole families, who do not have the time to visit them together.


The target should be only what is best for consumer. It is obvious that small shops may not be able to compete with the longer hours. For these 200 or so small shop keepers employing 1-2 persons, should we fire the newly employed 7,000 people? 


A list of names with IDs and places of their employment has been provided by the Government to parliament, but some of the members just do not want to know (small politics to the detriment of the economy and the consumers in general).

We must admit that Cyprus is a tourist destination, and this is convenient for foreign visitors, as well as for permanent residents who want to have their life here as convenient as possible.  For this reason, foreigners who are used to shopping in their own country at all hours will find this development negative.

This with the other negative side effect that it creates -- putting off would-be property buyers/ investors and others from being attracted here (villas to let Airbnb etc.).

Initially we looked at the malls with scepticism but seeing now how many young families spend hours there in safety and in a controlled environment, no doubt that it is the shopping of the future.  So, we must decide that small shops have no positive future, unless they specialise in a specific sort of business the larger stores are unable to cater for. 

On the one hand we try to project Cyprus as an international (ex) financial centre and on the other hand to place commercial restrictions which existed 40 years ago when circumstances were different.

We really cannot attain recovery and employment, because a sector of people, who because of self-interest, have no inhibitions about causing damage to the retail trade.  Although we can understand the Communist Party’s stand (AKEL) on the subject, we can excuse it, because it is their philosophy – But then how about the others?

The more one attempts to understand certain decisions taken by the House the more disappointed one gets – so it is no wonder why 50% of the population do not trust politicians and don’t turn up to vote.

A great shame, but most of all a great crime against the unemployed and a dangerous small politics game.