By Stelios Orphanides
The chairman of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, a state-funded organisation tasked with promoting Cyprus as an investment destination, said that following the 2013 crisis Cyprus entered a stability and growth course and progress in various areas make it “a model of economic recovery in the European Union”.
“This fact is reflected in an increased flow of foreign direct investment in 2014 which according to central bank figures rose to €6.6bn,” Christodoulos Angastiniotis, chairman of CIPA told delegates at the agency’s annual meeting on Monday. “The revived investor interest is shown in substantial investment in a plethora of economic sectors, such as energy, investment funds, tourism and shipping,while the real estate sector attracted more than €2bn via the citizenship and immigration through investment schemes”.
Angastiniotis said that “the course of (economic) recovery and attracting investment” continues with commercialisation of the Limassol port, the creation of a casino, the planned technology park, and the marinas in Agia Napa, Larnaca and Paralimni which will offer both short and long term benefits to the economy. CIPA will intensify its efforts to exploit opportunities that arise following recent developments abroad, including the decision of British voters to leave the EU.
The chairman of CIPA asked the island’s political forces inside and outside the government and “especially parliament” to swiftly review the proposal to establish an under-secretariat for development which will help Cyprus become a “first choice investment destination without getting lost in the maze of procedures and bureaucracy”. Structural reforms to remove obstacles to investment and business climate in the country are key to attracting investment, he added.
“CIPA welcomes the cabinet’s recent approval of the draft bills to establish under-secretariats for shipping and tourism,” he said, adding that parliamentary approval of the establishment of the three under-secretariats would help the economy.
Angastiniotis said that recent upgrades of Cyprus’s sovereign credit rating and its favourable ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report confirm the economy’s prospects.
In September, Standard & Poor’s upgraded Cyprus to BB, which is two notches into the non-investment area, from a previous BB-. Fitch ratings upgraded Cyprus a notch to BB- rating in October which is three grades below investment-grade ranking, while Moody’s earlier this month maintained Cyprus’s credit rating unchanged at B1, which is four grades into the junk area.
The World Bank ranked Cyprus 47th among 189 countries in 2016, just below Montenegro and ahead of Chile, up from 64th last year. Reforms carried out by Cyprus last year, made it easier to get electricity, pay taxes, get credit, resolve insolvency, and enforce contracts, the World bank said.