Petrol stations fume over public going north

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Petrol station owners warn of strike action if President Nikos Christodoulides does not respond to their calls to discuss what they call the “unacceptable and illegal” purchase of petrol from the Turkish-occupied north.

Spokesperson for the Petrol Owners Association, Christodoulos Christodoulou, said the President has yet to reply to a letter sent last week.

Their core grievance is that Greek Cypriots are spending millions of euros each month in the north, filling up on cheaper fuel, while the Republic is doing nothing to stop it.

Christodoulou said all the petrol stations in Nicosia and Famagusta are feeling the brunt. In a more difficult situation are those near crossing points, which no longer cover costs.

He argued that petrol stations in the Nicosia and Famagusta districts witnessed a 30% – 35% decrease in revenue last year as pump prices rose.

“We want to hear the positions of the new government on the matter and any new suggestions the President may have to resolve the problem. At the same time, we will also table our suggestions to limit the flows to the occupied territories for fuel,” said Christodoulou.

Petrol station owners, said Christodoulou, are suggesting the reduction of taxes on fuel, which would bring down prices, also significantly limiting flows to the occupied areas for fuel.

The petrol station owners’ representative also spoke of unfair competition in the market, as many taxi drivers and companies procure cheaper fuel from stations in the north where prices are a third lower.

Meanwhile, the Professional Craftsmen and Shopkeepers Confederation also complain of unfair competition, reporting an increase in Greek Cypriots heading north for shopping and other services such as hairdressers and dentists.

The federation argues that Green Line Trade Regulation does not cover these services and petrol purchases.

“We are calling on the European Union to take action to end this illegality occurring in a European state,” it said.