The government is striving to support businesses, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, said on Wednesday.
According to an official press release he was addressing the Nicosia Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting.
He assured businesses that the “the government is aware of the problems you face and will always stand by your side”.
Lakkotrypis said that the ministries of Finance and Commerce are at a late stage of negotiations with the European Investment Bank in order to secure financing with favourable terms which will be used for SMEs.
He further noted that an effort is being made to announce within 2013 a Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, while a Business Innovation Scheme is already underway.
The challenges created by recession are undoubtedly great, he acknowledged, pointing out however that there will be opportunities the private sector should seize.
Our ministry, Lakkotrypis said, is following developments closely and continues to take steps to support your efforts.
Referring to tourism he highlighted the fact that despite the negative aftereffects of a bail-out for Cyprus agreed at Eurogroup level in late March, the government managed through immediate and coordinated efforts to achieve a relatively satisfactory year.
Total revenue until July was up by 3%, while September arrivals were on an upward trend by 6.7%, he said, adding that October arrivals are expected to be similarly positive.
The Cypriot minister also noted that despite scarcity of funds, the ministry continues to promote commerce and services abroad via organizing trade missions abroad, seminars and business fora.
It also participates in trade shows and hosts foreign investors and journalists in Cyprus.
Excluded from international capital markets since April 2011, Cyprus applied for financial assistance from the EU bailout mechanism, as its two largest banks, Bank of Cyprus (BoCY) and Cyprus Popular Bank (also called Laiki Bank) requested state support following mass losses as a result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut.
The aid package from the Troika featured a sizeable reduction of the island`s banking sector, as well as bail-in of uninsured deposits. Under the package agreed in March, Cyprus closed one bank, the Popular, whereas deposits over 100,000 euro held at the island’s biggest lender, Bank of Cyprus, lost 47.5% of their value, after being converted into bank shares.
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