By Jean Christou
President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday the road to full recovery and the restoration of trust in the economy would be long and arduous but that the page had been turned.
Addressing the Economist Conference in Nicosia, Anastasiades gave a rundown of the positives since the island was bailed out by international lenders in March 2013, culminating in the recent successful EU stress tests for the banking sector.
Foreign investment in the banking sector was a vote of confidence in the economy by “the most sceptical of judges… international investors,” he said.
Now that the economy and banking sector had stabilised, Anastasiades said the focus would be on “much-needed structural reforms”.
“We want to implement our own, ‘Cyprus reform programme’ which we will define and will not be imposed from outside,” he said.
He said this would involve wide-ranging administrative reform and development to improve the business environment, “which will make Cyprus really attractive for investments that will lead to truly sustainable development”.
Complex processes and bureaucracy would be simplified to make Cyprus more competitive for foreign and local investments, he said.
“Our aim is to transform the public administration into a flexible organisation that aims to better serve the economy and society, a public administration that creates prospects rather than unnecessary regulatory barriers to private initiative,” Anastasiades added.
“We need to unleash the potential of the private sector.”
In addition to the traditional sectors of the economy Cyprus wanted to lead the way in new areas such as energy.
“The Cypriot economy and the banking sector have now stabilised and there have been significant steps forward in creating a new economic model for the country,” Anastasiades told delegates.
“These positive results… give us the strength to continue with the same consistency and determination for more radical reforms. Twenty months after the signing of the MoU with the Troika I can now confidently say that we have turned the page and the Cypriot economy is now on track to recovery.”