Cyprus’ €1.2 billion Resilience and Recovery Plan (RRP) was approved by the EU on July 8, and there are already today a number of projects close to completion, and others in full phase of implementation.
Sources at the finance ministry have shared a list of 13 projects which are linked to the first group of milestones set for 2021, and 24 measures expected to achieve a first milestone or target by the second quarter of 2022.
The sources note that around 100 measures, out of the total 172 reforms and investments included in the CY RRP are already in the phase of implementation or in the process of preparatory actions with a view to initiate implementation within 2021.
The first project to be ready is the promotion of renewables and individual energy efficiency measures in dwellings, tackling energy poverty for the disabled ( C2 112a).
According to the RRP, the Scheme aims to contribute to the achievement of the national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. While the installation of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and roof thermal insulation are obligatory for new buildings, the Scheme will aim to encourage the use of renewable energy sources and energy savings by the large stock of old dwellings. Cyprus has an obligation to increase the RES Heating & Cooling by 1.1 per cent every year. By replacing 1.000 Solar Water Heating per year a substantial part of the above target can be achieved maintaining Cyprus among the first countries in the world. In addition, the Scheme will aim to promote innovative technologies in SWH, such as remote monitoring and control of the systems.
Another project actively underway is “Energy Efficiency Upgrading of public buildings – Schools Energy Efficiency” (C2 115b). Thermal insulation and photovoltaic systems have already been installed in at least 405 schools with an objective to achieve on average at least a 30 per cent primary energy demand reduction.
Another project calls for the creation of an “independent Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSOC) from the incumbent Electricity Authority of Cyprus” (C2 1R2). This project is critical to the deregulation of the energy sector. The ministry has prepared a bill which is at this time tabled in the Cyprus Parliament.
In the health sector, an important IT project is in process of implementation and will be ready in the second quarter of next year. “This aims at establishing a digital coordination centre to support public sector bodies in making data-driven evidence-based decisions for public health matters. The investment covers both the development of the necessary digital tools (i.e. software and ICT infrastructure) and the upskilling/training of staff to use the system for data collection, and information extraction.
The first part of this project (C1 1I12) involves the creation of the “Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System module of the Cyprus Innovative Public Health information and communications technology (ICT) System.
Forest fire prevention and management projects have also been prioritised and are being implemented rapidly.
A project (C2 1I9) “for the purchase of firefighting aircraft, vehicles, equipment and provision of services with the objective to contribute to climate change adaptation and to the reduction of the risk of explosion and expansion of forest fire and the strengthening protection against the risks faced by citizens, infrastructure and forests from a possible fire incident” is underway, with tenders to be ready by the end of 2021.
For businesses, a project creating a National Commercial Identity is moving forward: (C3 1I5) “Adoption by the Council of Ministers of Action Plans that shall consist of: (1) assisting businesses to promote their products and services on the basis of the ‘made in Cyprus’ branding, and (2) increasing the distinctiveness of the halloumi cheese as an authentic Cyprus product and designing a promotional and awareness campaign for it.”
Another project (C31I2) for business is the creation of a blockchain platform to ensure the provenance of local food and drinks.
This is just a short selection of active projects. A number of other RRP measures already initiated and expected to advance in 2021 aim to enhance the entrepreneurial and investment activity in the country e.g. by encouraging more investments in R&I (tax relief scheme), facilitate knowledge transfer, support strategic investments, promote and enhance circular economy.
Reforms aiming to enhance efficiency in the public administration and the judicial system, improve the legal and institutional framework for fighting corruption, as well as addressing the financial risks related to non-performing loans in the banking sector, have also been set as priorities under the RRP, given their significant impact in improving the business environment and enhancing the economy’s competitiveness and resilience in general. It should be noted at this point that reaching consensus and timely voting on bills related to or directly affecting the implementation of the RRP measures has already been identified as one of the key challenges for the timely and successful implementation of the Plan, the sources noted.
Regular reporting on the progress of RRP implementation will be generated through the monitoring information system currently being developed and expected to be fully operational at the beginning of next year.
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