President Nicos Anastasiades has said that despite the delay in the conclusion of the 5th review of Cyprus` economic adjustment programme, due to the suspension by the parliament of the implementation of the foreclosures bill, “we remain on track”.
“We remain committed to the implementation of the programme, which provides for the institutional establishment of those tools that will allow the banking system to operate properly and to remain sound,”, he said, adding that “we will continue this difficult and demanding effort which bears fruit.”
Addressing on Friday evening the inauguration ceremony of the renovated premises of the Limassol Co-operative Savings Society administration offices, Anastasiades expressed his satisfaction over the Co-op`s recent initiatives to reduce interest rates on loans, something which encourages, as he noted, competition, eases financial burdens on households and businesses and contributes to the establishment of conditions for a more rapid return to growth.
“We are determined to proceed with the implementation of a series of bold amendments, aiming at further developing international competitiveness in our country and establishing a positive and friendly environment for businesses and investments, which in turn will create more jobs, something which is a priority of our economic policy,” the President pointed out.
Noting that the economy is on the track of full recovery, Anastasiades said that “Cyprus returned to the international markets much earlier than predicted even by the most optimistic analysts, and our international lenders have recognised the continuous improvements of the economy.”
Anastasiades expressed his appreciation for the work of the Co-operative Movement in Cyprus and his personal wish for members of the Co-operative Credit Institutions to regain the ownership of the Institutions.
He noted that Co-operative Credit Institutions hold 30% of the loans and 44% of the deposits, something which shows the respect of the local society to the Co-operative Movement.
The fifth and final bill of the insolvency framework will be submitted to the Cabinet on March 3, a representative of the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The bill is expected to be officially tabled to the House of Representatives two days later.
The Finance Ministry is in consultation with the Troika of international lenders and the political parties in order to complete the insolvency framework, Andreas Charalambous, of the Finance Ministry, told a joint session of the House Finance and Interior Committees on Friday.
Another representative of the Ministry said that the fifth bill of the so-called insolvency package will provide for immediate implementation of the plan for the protection of the primary residence.
The Ministry said that by next Thursday it will submit to the House in writing the points on which there is agreement.
Charalambous said the Ministry is in touch with the lenders on the issue of guarantors to bad debt, which forms part of the fifth bill.
The issue is under scrutiny in order to find solutions and consultations are underway both with the Troika and the political parties, to whom some Ministry proposals which have yet to be fully agreed with the lenders had been communicated.
A blanket suspension on new, tougher foreclosure legislation was voted by opposition parties in mid-December 2014, and renewed in January until March 2 thus derailing Cyprus’ economic adjustment programme and prompting the Troika to freeze the next tranche of the €10-billion emergency bailout loan extended to Cyprus by international lenders (European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund).
The suspension – and subsequent derailment of the programme – caused heated political debate in Cyprus, with the government accusing the opposition of irresponsible populism and parties pointing out its failure to prepare a set of bills governing insolvency and bankruptcy – which became known as the “insolvency framework”. The fifth and final bill of the framework in the final stages of preparation following intense consultations with the Troika, and is expected to be forwarded to the House on March
DIKO ON THE BILL
Meanwhile, President of the centre-right party DIKO Nicolas Papadopoulos did not rule out the possibility of lending his party`s support, at the next House plenary, to a government compromise proposal which excludes the primary residence from the foreclosures law until March 31, to avoid another suspension of the law.
Should DIKO vote in favour of the government proposal, this will probably go through, as the ruling right-wing Democratic Rally party (DISY) is set to approve the compromise proposal.
Speaking after a joint session of the House finance and interior committees, Papadopoulos said that next Thursday’s plenum would decide whether to renew the suspension of foreclosures law or not.
Asked to comment on his party’s stance, Papadopoulos said that if preparation of the government bill on corporate insolvency is concluded by then, DIKO will “discuss” Anastasiades’ proposal to implement the foreclosure law while exempting primary residences.
The proposal was tabled at committee level last Thursday by ruling party DISY.
“Right now we have before us only DISY’s proposal – not the government’s,” he said.
“We hope that the government will state its commitment to the bill, taking responsibility for suspending the foreclosure law on homes. You understand, this will need to be stated by a government representative when the bill will be discussed by the committee.”