Minister of Economy and Energy Ozdil Nami has said that he is following the issue of natural resources around the island with his interlocutors in Turkey. The Greek Cypriot side has, on several occasions, been invited to cooperate on issues such electricity and natural gas, but unfortunately there has been no positive response so far on these calls, Nami said. The Turkish side was obliged to take its own steps, he argued.
Nami added: “They preferred to take unilateral steps by hiding behind the curtain of a recognised state. This, of course, has forced the Turkish side to take its own steps. In this context, if the Greek Cypriot side has made agreements with American, French or Italian companies and have launched research activities, we have also taken the same steps with the Republic of Turkey”.
The energy minister said that “no one should have any doubt that the Turkish Cypriot people will continue to protect their legitimate rights and interests”, adding that the necessary steps have been taken and will continue to be taken in cooperation with Turkey.
Referring to the importance of the interconnected cable project between Turkey and the TRNC (carrying electricity from Turkey to North Cyprus) to reduce the cost of electricity, Nami argued that the electricity costs will be decreased when this project materialises. He further explained that “work was also being carried out towards bringing down the cost of electricity by adopting legal arrangements which will enable more productive use of renewable energy in the country”.
Noting that the inflation rate in the TRNC is due to developments beyond its control, Nami added that North Cyprus cannot compete in the international arena. He pointed out that “80% of the public revenue is spent on salaries and similar payments and that the capital budget is low”. He added that this model needs to be changed and a competitive economy must be created. Explaining that this could only be materialised through a long term study, Nami said however, that “the fact that the TRNC is not recognised by other countries than Turkey is hampering the country’s foreign trade”.
Referring to the economic outlook for 2019, Nami said that he expects the next year to be a tough one, adding that plans and preparations are being made with the aim of overcoming these difficulties.