To encourage foreign investment in Cyprus, it has been suggested to the South Cyprus government that the land which was the old Nicosia airport could be used as an inter-communal tax free industrial zone.
The proposal was made in a letter to South Cyprus President Anastasiades, by Dr Michael Paraskos, Director of the Cornaro Institute* in Larnaca.
The suggestion has been made with a view to presenting it to the Turkish Cypriots during negotiations on the Cyprus settlement.
Dr Paraskos says that even if there is a settlement between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus, Nicosia Airport will not be needed as Cyprus will have airports at Larnaca, Paphos and Ercan. Turning the old airport in Nicosia into a free zone would be a significant confidence boosting measure that would also encourage much needed foreign investment in Cyprus.
Although there would be no tax revenue from the free zone, a condition for foreign companies setting up there could that they provide employment to Cypriots from both sides of the Green Line.
Dr Paraskos suggests foreign high tech firms in particular could be attracted to a zero-tax environment located within the European Union, boosting the local construction industry and feeding the local economy through employee wages. If successful, the zone could be a hub for high tech industries, such as those that exist in Israel, employing university educated Cypriots who are now struggling to find work on the island.
*The Cornaro Institute is an arts, cultural and educational organisation