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Cyprus

Ease of doing business indicators ‘shocking,’ reform chief says

Constantinos Petrides

Despite the island’s improved position in the World Bank’s Doing Business report, some of the indicators were “shocking”, undersecretary to the president Constantinos Petrides said on Friday.

“Many of the indicators are shocking,” he said during an event organised by the Investment Promotion Agency. “When I saw the figures in December I thought it was unacceptable.”

Cyprus was among the world’s top 10 countries that improved their business rules in the past year, according to the report.

The island was among the top 10 economies that implemented at least three reforms, moving up 13 places to 47 in the overall 2016 Ease of Doing Business ranks out of 189 countries.

This also boosted Cyprus’ Distance from Frontier overall percentage to 71.78 per cent, compared with 67.37 last year.

An economy’s distance to frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier.

Petrides, who heads the presidency’s administrative reform unit, said what mattered was how Cyprus compared with the rest of the EU and not 190 countries.

“Our performance there is not good,” he said. Cyprus ranked 25th out of the 28 EU members.

He said he planned to prepare an action plan in a bid to rectify the situation but also pointed out that individual ministries and government departments should look at the report and try to correct things.

For instance, Cyprus is in last place when it comes to construction permits, where 617 days were needed to complete 8 procedures. It ranked 92nd in registering immovable property, and dead last in the execution of contracts, with an average time of 1,100 days.

Petrides said indicators must improve if Cyprus wants to be a competitive country.

“This is what an investor looks at when deciding where to invest,” he said. “Growth will not come about with a magic wand, nor will it rain money.”

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