The chief goal of local government reform should be a better and more efficient functioning of municipal authorities in addressing the needs and expectations of its residents at low cost, Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yorkadjis said on Wednesday.
Yiorkadjis issued a written statement ahead of parliament’s plenary vote on the long-standing issue which is due today.
He said what was needed were municipalities with delineated roles and responsibilities, financially independent and able to provide quality services at low cost in the long term.
“I am deeply convinced that Nicosia can gain a comparative advantage if all the forces of the city cooperate for the same purpose but not if they compete with each other,” Yiorkadjis said.
“That is why I believe that no municipality within urban Nicosia should be absent or excluded from the unified planning and operation of the city. It will not be to the benefit of the city as a whole if some make the choice to follow a different path, either alone or together with other municipalities of the region.”
Yiorkadjis said to ensure success, Nicosia needed uniformity across various sectors including urban planning, transportation, smart city development and strategy implementation.
Nicosia’s urban area did not just include the city centre and its surroundings, but was made up of the municipalities of Strovolos, Aglandjia, Ayios Dometios and Nicosia that were interconnected and had common demographic and socio-economic challenges.
Moreover, he said that each city must have a clear and reliable economic model able to deliver sustainability and development in the long run. As far as Nicosia is concerned – aside from being the country’s administrative headquarters- it should develop as a hub for research, innovation, and higher education.
Yiorkadjis said multimodal mobility, the cyclical economy and digital transformation were useful tools in bringing about progress and development.
“Synergies, economies of scale and subsequent economic benefits for the city and its residents resulting from local government reform should not be ignored,” the mayor added.
“Nicosia can attain a comparative advantage if all municipal forces band together and pursue common goals instead of competing with each other. No concerned party should be absent or excluded from the reform process. The choice to absent from the process will be detrimental to both themselves and to the city.”