The Cyprus government has pledged to drastically reduce the number of pending title deeds from 30,000 at present to just 2,000 by the end of the year, a fete regarded by many as an extremely high order considering the bureaucracy in some departments and the lack of cooperation from property developers.
Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, taking an enormous burden of responsibility on his shoulders, just as his predecessors had attempted, said that following reforms in local administration, the next significant target of the Memorandum of Understanding with the troika of international lenders is to reduce the number of title deeds pending for approval at the Land Registry.
“After completing the evaluation of the properties, the second top obligation is the issuance of the title deeds, as by the end of the year the titles to be issued should be reduced to 2,000,” he said, adding that the Registry has only six months to conclude this task.
Hasikos said the government and the Troika may also agree in the coming days on a reduction in the transfer fees in the real estate sector by 50%, but that the Troika heads of mission wish to explore the fiscal impact of such an action.
“This is one of the issues under discussion and I expect that in the coming days we will conclude this issue and proceed with a 50% reduction in these fees,” he said, adding that the government will present figures justifying this reduction.
“I have the impression we will convince (our lenders),” he concluded, as the Troika officials prepare to leave the island by Thursday.
Hasikos said that the government and the international lenders agreed on the reform of the local administration on the basis of a secondary organ as part of changes in the public administration.
This implies restructuring the 39 municipalities and 487 communities into district councils that, according to experts from Britain’s National School of Government International, would secure economies of scales in the operation of the local administration as well as more effective operation.
The Interior Ministers added that Cyprus has until the end of the year to discuss with all stakeholders the competencies which will be granted to this organ and submit a bill to the House of Representatives for approval.
Hasikos said all stakeholders should grant competencies to this secondary organ, both the municipalities and the government itself through the District Offices.
He said the government aims to serve the interest of the taxpayers and the citizens and to save money through the synergies created from the operation of this organ.
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