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Cyprus

Government withdraws CyTA bills

The government on Monday withdrew its five proposed bills for the denationalisation of state telecoms company CyTA, which were being discussed at parliament.

Lawmakers on the House finance committee were informed of the government’s decision in session, shortly before noon.

In a letter to House President Yiannakis Omirou, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that, due to the objections raised by a majority of parliamentary parties over the CyTA bills, the government wished to withdraw them.

He added that the government continued to believe that the creation of conditions for the company’s operation as a more flexible organisation under private law and owned solely by the state, and, at a later stage, attracting a strategic partner, are imperative.

“To this end, the government will return with new proposed bills and regulations,” Georgiades said.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman Angelos Votsis said that the committee unanimously decided to exempt 61 positions at CyTA from the hiring freeze in the public sector, in order to complete the organisational chart following 520 retirements.

“In this way, CyTA can be modernised to the greatest extent possible, since the organisation will have the responsible people in the appropriate posts running it,” he said.

Main opposition AKEL’s spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said the withdrawal of the bills is a victory for the Cypriot public.

“It is credited to the struggles of the workers and the political forces that resisted this attempt to loot the state’s wealth,” Loukaides said.

“This development is proof that, through fighting and organised struggle, the public can make a difference.”

But, he added, the government’s failure to deliver CyTA’s profits and assets to private interests “must not, and will not, lead AKEL to complacency”.

“It is certain that they will try again, if they get a chance, since transferring wealth to the privileged few is a key component of their ideology,” he said.

The Greens’ deputy Giorgos Perdikis noted that the government’s decision to withdraw the bills should have come with a proposal to reform and remove parties’ influence from the organisation.

“The risk that the proposals might be brought back after the [May’s legislative] elections remains,” he said, adding that parliament wasted valuable time, since many important matters remain pending.

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