Businesses fear spectre of corruption

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Most Cypriot companies feel corruption on the island is widespread, threatening their business, according to the latest Eurobarometer issued by the European Commission.

The vast majority (95%) of businesses believe corruption is widespread, while 72% say it impedes their growth and existence.

And just 2% of companies say they rarely come across corruption.

Firms feeling threatened by corruption are the third highest in the European Union, after Romania (75%) and Greece (74%).

The most widespread corruption practice in Cyprus, according to 62% of the participating companies, is kickbacks, followed by the financing of political parties in exchange for public contracts or exerting influence on policymaking, according to 57%.

Some 49% consider nepotism prevalent, while 35% consider bribery common practice to obtain contracts or jobs.

At the same time, 86% of companies said they were displeased with the authorities’ reaction when corruption was unveiled, as the punishment did not fit the crime.

Just 12% of companies said they were pleased with punishments given to offenders.

Moreover, 73% of the participants consider that anti-corruption measures in Cyprus are not applied impartially or without ulterior motives, in contrast to 22% who consider that they are applied.

Public sector

When dealing with the public sector, 96% of the respondents said they had not offered any favours or gifts to carry out procedures such as building or other permits.

But 4% admitted to offering a favour or money on at least one occasion.

The majority of Cypriot businesses (65%) believe that during the last three years, corruption has prevented them from being awarded a public tender or concluding a public contract.

Half of the participants (50%) consider it unlikely that people or businesses involved in a bribery case will be charged and brought to justice, compared to 49% who said it was possible.

At the same time, 38% consider it possible for large fines or prison sentences to be imposed by the courts, compared to 62% who consider it unlikely.

Meanwhile, 75% of the respondents consider the complexity of administrative procedures a problem compared to 25% who do not.

The lack of means or procedures to recover debts from others is a problem for 64% of Cypriot businesses, against 34% who said otherwise.

Inadequate infrastructure in the country is a problem for 64%, while access to finance, including credit, was an issue for 60% of respondents.