Cyprus Mail

Red-tape still the bane of foreign investment

By George Psyllides

Bureaucracy, lack of confidence in the banking system, and delays in decision making were cited as Cyprus’ main disadvantages in a survey of foreign companies operating on the island.

The survey, conducted by Noverna on behalf of the investment promotion agency (CIPA), covered 119 foreign-owned companies operating in Cyprus mainly in shipping, consulting and financial services, energy, and 15 other sectors of the economy.

The aim was to evaluate Cyprus as a business centre and investment destination and the extent to which foreign investors are satisfied.

The majority – 22 — of those polled cited bureaucracy as the island’s main disadvantage, followed by the lack of confidence in the banking system, 20.

The economic crisis and big delays in procedures in the government sector – company registrar were listed as the third and fourth main disadvantages of doing business in Cyprus.

The main advantages, according to the survey, were the island’s tax regime – voted by 52 — location, good professional services, and personnel know-how.

Foreign investors also consider that Cyprus has room for improvement in forging a national economic/investment strategy and in offering incentives to investors.

They also want to see a speedy implementation of the planned strategic reforms and the structural changes which aim to make Cyprus more hospitable to foreign investments.

“For CIPA it is essential and extremely important to hear what foreign investors have to tell us. This information, coming as it is from those who have a direct interest, constitutes a very useful tool for better planning and in order to improve,” CIPA chairman Christodoulos Angastiniotis said.

He conceded that a lot remains to be done.

“Improving the business climate and dealing with bureaucracy remain the challenges that we must overcome over the next few months.”

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