Privatisations could attract large foreign investment, ruling DISY party said on Thursday, as the war of words over privatisations raged on.
DISY spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said assets like the state telecoms company CyTA will not be lost but will be used to the benefit of the economy and society.
“Let us allow CyTA to participate in Cyprus’ new era of growth as a credible and effective organisation,” Prodromou said.
He was responding to criticism from main opposition party AKEL, that CyTA would not be modernised but simply sold off.
Prodromou said denationalising CyTA would free it from political party meddling and phenomena of corruption.
The DISY spokesman reiterated once more that it was AKEL’s handling of the economy between 2008 and 2013 that made it necessary for Cyprus to seek assistance from international lenders.
Privatising state companies had been included in the terms of the island’s €10bln bailout.
“In all bailout agreements it is considered a chance for the states that are borrowing to contribute to the rescue by offering some of their assets,” he said.
AKEL spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said privatising CyTA was not a necessary reform “but anti-popular, neoliberal deregulation” that would only serve big private interests.
“The best way to serve public interest (and) protect the rights and interests of the workers, the taxpayers, consumers, and the economy in general, would be to maintain the public character of these organisations and to further modernise them,” Loukaides said.
DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos reiterated his party’s opposition to the sale of state assets but he also left a window open.
“Our position is clear. We want the state to maintain control over its assets,” he said. “we are ready to discuss how to do this.”
DIKO’s support would be necessary for the government to pass the bills through parliament.
Papadopoulos said in the case of the ports authority, the state would be leasing its assets in the same way it had done with the Republic’s two airports.
He said his party was willing to talk if the property was put under the administration of an investor under the right conditions.
“One way or another, the state must keep control of its assets or at least have control over these very important issues that are of concern to us:” how it ensures the workers’ rights, their pension rights, and national security.
He said his party was ready to hear from the government but stressed that DIKO’s basic principle was for the state to maintain control over its assets.
“We expect to hear from the executive how this objective will be achieved.”