Cyprus Mail

Govt. to re-sumbit privatisation bill to parliament (updated)

The government will re-submit privatisation legislation to parliament, the spokesman said on Friday, a day after lawmakers rejected the roadmap and put an international bailout programme at risk.

Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said legislation, amended to accommodate concerns over workers legacy rights, would be submitted to the House of Representatives on Friday.

Shortly afterwards, President Nicos Anastasiades used his Twitter account to state that he was “determined to keep the country on the path of stabilisation and recovery.”

Parliament will discuss the bill on Tuesday.

The new bill that will be submitted by the government on Friday incorporates all the amendments discussed during the consultations with the parties so that the bill was approved, Stylianides said.

“The matters are critical, the developments are dramatic, and we hope to have the parliament’s consent to avoid incidents that affect the credibility of the Republic of Cyprus at a moment when it is already regaining its credibility and the situation is stabilising,” he added.

Parliament on Thursday rejected the privatisation plan, potentially throwing into disarray an international bailout programme of the island and endangering the next tranche of a €10bn loan.

The vote was split evenly, with 25 lawmakers in favour and 25 against, and five abstentions — out of eight MPs — from DIKO. The bill needed a simple majority to pass.

AKEL, EDEK and the Greens voted against.

Approval of a privatisation plan is mandatory under terms of an EU/IMF bailout Cyprus secured in March 2013. Without approval of the legislation, Cyprus is not eligible for a fourth tranche of about €236m in aid next month.

The state has already received almost half its bailout amount.

As part of its commitments to pay down debt, Cyprus is expected to privatise three major public utility corporations, raising some €1.4bn by 2018.

Those earmarked for sale include the Telecommunications Authority, the Electricity Authority and the Ports Authority.

The Eurogroup was due to green-light the disbursement of the next instalment when it next met on March 5. That is now uncertain.

The deal breaker in parliament was an amendment, brought by DIKO, to the government bill. It sought to secure the status of SGO employees as civil servants even once the SGOs are turned into private concerns.

The spokesman said the rights of the workers were secured, as was the role of parliament.


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