South Cyprus resists privatisation moves

Chairman of the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) in the South, Chrysis Prentzas has stated that the Port Authority can raise 1.4 billion euro in a bid to avoid privatisation.

He said that the Authority could double its revenues, which stand at 23 to 35 million euro annually, via a new market potential; offering facilities to the new natural gas industry. It would therefore, be able to raise a loan based on this market potential and add 1.4 billion euro to the pot.

An agreement signed with EU lenders (Memorandum of Understanding) states that South Cyprus must initiate privatisation schemes of state-owned and semi-private organisations and consider groups such as; Cyta (telecom), EAC (electricity) and the Cyprus Port Authority (CPA).

The plan predicts that at least 1 billion euro could be raised in this way, plus a further 400 million euro by 2018.

“The Ports Authority could raise its contribution either by using its own resources, or by borrowing money, and therefore remain under the control and management of the state,” the CPA Chairman said after a meeting with House President Giannakis Omirou. He added that based on the new data and potential market based on gas transportation, the CPA woud be able to double its revenues and would be able to repay a loan of about 500 million euro over a period of 10 to 20 years.

President of the House of Representatives said the proposal of the Ports Authority is “absolutely reasonable” and “it would be unreasonable if the Troika insisted in privatisations even in case the three semi-governmental organisations were able to raise 1.4 billion euro without implementing a privatisation plan.”

He emphasised the need for great care taken by the government, when approving fundamental changes that will deprive the state of its public wealth and said that the Parliament will support the CPA’s proposal and that he expects that the government will do the same and try to persuade EU lenders to withdraw their demand for privatisations.

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