Before the new President of the Republic formulates his plans, I submit some views and suggestions to improve the real estate and construction industry.
Adopting the Deputy Ministries by the previous government proved to be worth every investment.
For this, I suggest the appointment of an undersecretary/deputy minister of the Ministry of Interior.
The example of the original deputy ministers (Perdios for Tourism and Pilides for Shipping) showed very good results from the beginning. Based on their success, the other deputy ministries were adopted.
So, this idea is very good, and it is up to the abilities and diligence of each deputy minister to produce effective work.
Deputy Ministry of Interior
As I have repeatedly argued, it is necessary to create a Deputy Ministry of Interior that handles issues of Town Planning and Lands Surveys, permits, and so much more that the Ministry of Interior is impossible to handle effectively and that a dedicated deputy ministry could in some issues, be more effective.
A “curse” of the industry that has not been solved in 10 years, based on a lack of interest by the governing parties and others, with the sole exception of the Commissioner for Legislation, who only now is examining the issue.
The indifference on the part of the state for such a long time is a given, as are the petty politics of the parties that are unacceptable.
Therefore, immediate discussion and resolution of the issue is a priority.
We were “overloaded” with commissioners of various qualities and efficiency.
For personal data that no one knows when these laws apply.
For example, when someone can install cameras, even at their residence, they may break the law (e.g. the Police, in case of a crime, may ask for images from cameras, while based on personal data, this installation may be illegal and perhaps non-admissible in Court).
We also have the Insurance Commissioner who maintains silence on many subjects, even though many complaints have been made (see the Bulgaria case) and incomprehensible approaches by insurance companies to helpless customers who do not know whether they are insured.
The Commissioner for Administration, such an important post, showed us no signs of response or interest in complaints submitted by us and others who did not receive a response and certainly no concern.
Legislation that is not implemented is another serious matter, as is the timely response to letters to the state.
The legislation requires a response from the Public Service within 30 days of a citizen’s petition, while there is no response in practice.
Affordable housing is another troubled affair, and apart from subsidies, the outgoing government had no serious solutions.
And yet there are solutions, with the reduction of VAT to 5% from 19%, with suspension.
Procedures in the issue of titles cannot be accelerated under the existing system of 50 years ago.
We have provided a detailed explanation of how this can be overcome by the involvement of the private sector, e.g., by the supervising architect (with the appropriate responsibility).
The indifference by civil servants is a given, as was the recent example of suppressing the story of the Indian investor who left Cyprus and his businesses for this reason, while high-income foreign employees express similar protests.
In this regard, I wish journalists had basic knowledge and some training (even before interviewing the candidates) to ask the questions, but also to be able to contrast the many answers they receive.
What is their position on determining the minimum extent of units, which increases the cost of acquiring a home by 30%?
Why waste on governmental land, expropriations, subsidies, etc., when the issue is solved by differentiating/abolishing the minimum areas?
What is their position on the “Responsibility of Ministers” (for bad decisions)?
What is their position on the imprisonment or sentencing of civil servants for wrongful decisions (in Italy, a court imprisoned the seismological department officers for seven years because they did not correctly predict the level of the earthquake)?
What is their position on the tolerance of 6 containers in Protaras, which were converted into houses with the municipality’s blessing?
What is the responsibility of local authorities?
And so many more questions were left unanswered during the debates.
The success or failure of the new President will depend on the quality of the persons he chooses in the Council of Ministers and on the quality of the commissioners and deputy ministers, who, from the experiences to date, at least for some individuals, have shown their value for the benefit of the Cyprus economy.
By Antonis Loizos FRICS – Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd – Real Estate Appraisers, Real Estate Consultants and Real Estate Agents