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Cyprus

MPs say trying to protect small businesses from unfair bank contracts

The House commerce committee is trying to afford small businesses protection from unfair terms and conditions included in standard bank contracts through a bill on consumer protection, MPs said on Tuesday.

Members of the committee said they must either include provisions in the current bill in a way that would not trigger a presidential veto or draft a second proposal exclusively for small businesses.

Committee chairman Disy’s Andreas Kyprianou said the current bill protects individuals from unfair provisions in bank contracts but not companies. He said the committee intends to extend protection to small businesses, which mostly belong to families and could be affected just as individuals.

However, incorporating provisions relating to small businesses in the current bill would mean delays because it would need to be processed anew.

Kyprianou said parties have decided to submit amendments during the vote, which would likely lead to the bill being vetoed by the president.

Main opposition Akel said it was unfair for small businesses not to be afforded the same protection as individuals.

MP Costas Costa said the president would probably refer the bill to the supreme court if parliament included companies and called on the ministries of finance and commerce to prepare a bill broadening the scope and send it to parliament immediately to be voted along with the consumer protection bill.

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