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Cyprus

Georgiades: CyTA was plundered and badly managed

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (centre left) meeting the new CyTA board yesterday

By Peter Stevenson

Telecoms authority (CyTA) was plundered and badly managed following a number of ‘criminal decisions’ Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said yesterday following a meeting with the semi-government organisation’s new board.

Georgiades said he had the opportunity to discuss some very important issues that the organisation’s board will be tasked to deal with including the thorny issue of privatisation.

“Over the last few years CyTA has been plundered. It was badly managed and a number of decisions were made which were criminal. Other than criminal responsibility there was also a lack of institutional values,” he said.

Georgiades said the new board had already decided to make changes to ensure the same mistakes would not be made again.

Regarding privatisation Georgiades said the aim was to implement a privatisation plan which would maximise the benefit for the economy as a whole and help the organisation limit any risks to staff.

“The privatisation plan is not quite ready and there could be a small delay,” he said in response to a reporter’s questions about when it would be implemented.

He explained that the plan would need to be discussed with staff before it was given to the Cabinet for approval.

“The government has approved early-retirement packages for staff but it may need some improvement or adjustment to meet all concerned,” Georgiades said.

Asked whether the same packages would apply across the board at all semi-government organisations (SGOs), Georgiades said: “You cannot generalise. The various SGOs will need to be looked at separately.”

CyTA chairman Christos Patsalides said the board had a very constructive discussion with the minister and they have drawn out a road map for the next steps.

Patsalides said the board’s aim was from now on to take decisions aimed at maximising the company.

CyTA’s chairman said he hoped to achieve that through a number of internal changes.

“The organisation will now operate on the basis of principals, transparency and good administration and we guarantee this to the finance minister, the cabinet and the president,” he said.

Earlier in the week Patsalides had told the House Finance Committee that early retirement would save a net €263.5 million with between 550 and 600 employees voluntarily exiting the organisation at a cost of €103 million.

He said that during the first phase of the scheme, expected to be rolled out in early 2014, which will see a total of 150 employees from various departments go, the option of accepting the scheme would be left to the employees.

During the second year of the plan the organisation will retain the right to choose the employees to be made redundant.

According to Patsalides, the three-year plan is expected to incur total payroll savings of €366.4 million and cost a total of €103 million, including the pension plan expenditure. The organisation expects to recompensate the plan’s cost within 16 months.

Sufficient provisions to fund the implementation will be made in the annual budgets, he told the committee.



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