AKEL said on Thursday it would vote against any bills that aimed at privatising telecommunications authority CyTA.
Speaking after a meeting with the Commissioner for Privatisations, Constantinos Herodotou, AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou said that over the past ten years, CyTA had given a total of over €60 million in surpluses to state coffers and this money would now be lost and “end up in the pockets of some individuals”.
CyTA, the electricity authority EAC and the Cyprus Ports Authority are slated for privatisation under the island’s €10 billion bailout. Under the deal, Cyprus must raise at least €1bn by the end of its economic adjustment programme and an additional €400m by 2018 at the latest, with the cash used to pay down the national debt.
“I told Mr Herodotou that AKEL will disagree strongly with this process and will vote against the bills will be forwarded to the House for the privatisation process,” Kyprianou said. He said it was a matter of policy and not economic necessity that was prompting the government.
On Wednesday CyTA unions said they would fight to protect the organisation from efforts to reduce its value ahead of privatisations.
Citing the privatisations commissioner, the unions said CyTA was worth €500 million.
But Herodotou said on Thursday the figure had not come from him.
“Let me clarify that I have been asked about what is the possible valuation of CyTA and let me clarify that neither I nor my unit has made any valuation, nor have we ever given a figure,” he said.
“This will be done by experts. Furthermore, the data to perform such an evaluation is currently not available.”
Herodotou said he had briefed Kyprianou on the work done so far in terms of the privatisation process and acknowledged that AKEL had concerns and reservations.
“I have promised Mr Kyprianou and the other parties and the trade unions that there will be transparency and they will know how it is progressing and if there will be anything new,” he said.
As far as the privatisation bills were concerned, he said, his office had started the second round for the recruitment of consultants and legal advisers.