Cyprus Mail

Discussion on gas fund bill postponed

Disy leader Averof Neophytou (centre) said there had been bad coordination among officials

The House finance committee decided on Monday to suspend further discussion of a bill on the operation of a fund that will administer future revenues from natural gas sales amid disagreement over its provisions.

The bill has been already redrafted once following a series of recommendations by the auditor-general.

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) proposed the addition of safeguards that would ensure better administration of the fund.

Finance ministry representative Panayiotis Tylliros voiced the department’s disagreement with CySEC’s proposed amendments regarding risk management. Tylliros argued that the fund did not fall within the scope of alternative investment management organisations and any reservations raised by CySEC previously had been addressed in the bill.

The ministry official added that CySEC’s new proposals were not helpful; on the contrary, they could affect the fund’s independence.

Tylliros warned that the bill was being delayed without reason, stressing that higher national ends dictated that it passed without further ado.

CySEC boss Demetra Kalogirou said that from the moment they were invited by parliament they were compelled to give their position about the bill.

She agreed that the fund did not fall under the scope of alternative investment management organisations but safeguards should be installed from the moment it would be administering over €500m.

CySEC, she said, wanted it to be a self-administrated government fund and safeguards be put in place to cover risk management.

Committee chairman, ruling Disy chief Averof Neophytou, announced the postponement of the discussion, urging state officials to consult among themselves and come up with a draft that would be approved by the Legal Service before a new meeting was convened.

He said bad coordination was not parliament’s problem to solve.

“Come with a specific text and policy,” he said. “We will not discuss the differences between the authorities.”

He asked finance ministry officials to talk to other departments and listen to what they had to say.

Akel MP Stephanos Stephanos said the ministry went to parliament over such an important matter without consulting other departments.

He added that it was not the first time, using civil service reform as an example. In that instance, he said, there were problems with the bills, including constitutional issues.


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