(Adds comment by minister Petrides in third paragraph and CSC in seventh paragraph)
By Stelios Orphanides
Parliament on Friday passed a bill establishing a shipping junior ministry, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.
The bill, tabled by the government, was approved unanimously, the agency reported, adding that two proposed amendments had been withdrawn without being put to the vote.
“It is indeed a very important step towards changing the outdated structure of the 1960 state but still not enough,” said Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Interior, who oversaw in his previous capacity of undersecretary to the president, the drafting of reform bills, including that for the establishment of the shipping junior ministry.
While “they are important for the country,” the establishment is fighting their creation, he said without elaborating.
The director of the Cyprus Shipping Council (CSC), Thomas Kazakos, said the decision gave “hope for the further growth of Cyprus shipping,” Kazakos commented on Twitter.
Later, in an emailed statement, the CSC said that “this pioneering administrative structure will assist substantially towards the further development of shipping,” which accounts for 7 per cent of the Cypriot economy.
“Such a unified state support, is expected also to serve as a convincing leverage for attracting additional quality shipowners and shipping companies in Cyprus, with a positive effect on reducing unemployment and strengthening other economic sectors that provide services to the shipping industry,” the business group said.