By Stelios Orphanides
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that while Cyprus will not request an extension of its bailout adjustment programme, which ends in March, it will have to continue its reform effort on its own to improve its competitiveness.
“The worst is over; Europe is happy to see Cyprus back on its feet,” he said in an interview to state radio CyBC on Monday, in reference to the January 14 meeting of the euro area’s finance ministers. “Despite our achievements, there remains a lot to be done”.
Georgiades said that in the past three years in which Cyprus implemented the terms of a €10bn bailout, which included reforms of its financial sector, public sector, and government finances, “we didn’t become the world’s most competitive economy. On the contrary, we rank low”.
The interest of Cyprus’s European partners which participated in the country’s rescue together with the International Monetary Fund, is now limited to seeing formal requirements satisfied that include the privatisation of state telecoms company CyTA.
“The rest is our responsibility and decisions we have to take must be based on facts, not on bias, denials, or exaggerations,” he said, adding that the country’s privatisation programme is not extensive as it merely includes the sale of the commercial operations of ports, the Cyprus Stock Exchange and the state lottery, in addition to CyTA.
“We have to remove obstacles of the past by continuing our effort,” he said.