Taking into account the “long standing challenges” Cyprus faces, the government on Wednesday announced seven measures to coordinate matters related to sanctions, including a rebranding campaign both at home and abroad.

“Our goal is to protect the country’s reputation abroad as a credible financial centre. This is of crucial importance,” government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis told reporters after a cabinet decision where the decisions were taken.

“Cyprus is a small, open and vulnerable economy where the contribution from the financial and services sectors are significant.” As such, it is important to protect them, he added.

The measures were taken by the presidency along with the ministries of finance and foreign affairs, and includes steps involving academics and a number of studies.

Letymbiotis highlighted the first measure is appointing a point of contact with the finance ministry that will be responsible for taking and aptly disseminating all information sent from Cypriot and foreign authorities.

The aim behind this is to have the information shared in a timely manner, and the point of contact will also have specific timelines in place to evaluate suggestions and take action. They will also have the “suitable support”.

The second measure is an agreement to be signed with the University of Cyprus to have Dr Andreas Milidonis, currently professor of finance, support the steps towards implementing sanctions. He will be appointed for one year with the possibility of renewing the agreement.

The third measure is an evaluation set to be undertaken by the finance ministry with other authorities and the legal service of any immediate improvements that the existing legal framework may require. Letymbiotis explained this will be part of a broader project as part of the national sanctions implementation unit announced in April.

Fourthly, a study set to take place in the next six months will be undertaken, assessing what improvements can be made to improve governance and oversight for service providers. The study will also encompass fighting money laundering, financing terrorism and introducing an oversight authority for companies active in the services industry.

The study will take into account the broader oversight plans spearheaded at an EU level. The study will be coordinated by the presidency, the finance ministry and will include consultation with relevant stakeholders such as the association of registered accountants, the bar association and the Cyprus securities and exchange commission (Cysec).

Letymbiotis elaborated that the fifth measure will be another study by the justice ministry and the police force, that will evaluate the capabilities of law enforcements authorities to investigate and prosecute financial crime in the context of Cyprus’ activities as a financial center. The study will be undertaken within the next six-months.

It will seek out potential gaps either in staff or procedures and suggest potential solutions. The recommendations by Moneyval, which is the Council of Europe’s monitoring authority on money laundering and terrorism financing, will also be taken into account.

The sixth measure will be an information campaign both in Cyprus and abroad on matters connected with corruption and compliance, within the framework of restrictive measures and sanctions in Cyprus.

Lastly, the seventh course of action cabinet decided on is a rebranding campaign that Cyprus will undertake in cooperation with professional stakeholders.

Embassies in the country will be briefed on these steps.

Letymbiotis said the measures were taken as part of Cyprus’ effort to show “yet again its commitment to zero tolerance” and to “protect Cyprus’ good name”.