Cyprus Mail

Parliament to vote on Limassol port commercialisation on March 24

Cyprus’s parliament will vote on March 24 on the regulations governing the commericalisaiton of the Limassol port’s operations, the Cyprus News Agency reported citing the chairman of the communications and works committee, Antonis Antoniou.

Antoniou’s comments came in response to an appeal by Transport Minister Marios Demetriades who asked the parliament not to delay the vote on the commercialisation which is expected to generate over time €2bn in revenue for the government with a net present value of more than €1bn. It is also expected to be beneficial for economic growth, the Cyprus News Agency reported. In the first three years of operations alone the government expects €50m every year under the new regime.

The longer the approval of the regulations remains pending, the bigger the risk that the deal will not go ahead, as the winners of the competition may think that the government is having second thoughts and withdraw, Demetriades said.

Demetriades reiterated that the interests of Cyprus Ports Authority workers had been secured as they will continue to work for the same employer or opt for a voluntary retirement scheme, the minister said.

A consortium led by Germany’s EuroGate won the container business, while two other consortiums led by Dubai Ports won the maritime services and general cargo operations.

Antoniou, who is a member of the DIKO faction, said that his committee will evaluate the deal to make sure that it will be beneficial for the state, that the workers’ interests are protected and that users of the port will be better served, before the regulations are put on vote on March 24. He added that in order for the privatisation to go ahead, certain conditions have to be met which include the setup of a joint advisory committee, maters of national security plus labour and financial issues.

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