Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting September 11:

President Nikos Christodoulides on Friday deflected media questions about the inflation and higher interest rates saying the government had a fiscal responsibility to safeguard the viability of the economy so that the financial crisis of the past would not be repeated.

The president was speaking on the sidelines of the PWC conference in Limassol where he gave an upbeat keynote address to the business community.

In a meeting with representatives of the Centres of Excellence, held during a session of the House Committee on Commerce, the Deputy Minister of Innovation, Research, and Digital Policy, Philippos Hadjizacharias, called upon the seven Centres of Excellence in Cyprus to direct their research work into the market to secure funding.

Hadjizacharias emphasised that Cyprus hosts seven of the 38 Centres operating in the European Union, indicating the effectiveness of these centres, as they have successfully received approval for funding from the EU.

Employment in the broad public sector increased by 894 individuals, a rise of 1.2 per cent, in the second quarter of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, according to the state’s statistical service. It also increased by 0.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Job vacancies in Cyprus saw a substantial increase of 17.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Cyprus Statistical Service (Cystat).

Cypriot Finance Minister Makis Keravnos on Wednesday expressed optimism regarding a potential upgrading of Cyprus’ credit rating to investment grade by the global rating agency Moody’s.

The minister’s comments come in anticipation of the scheduled assessment by the international rating agency set for September 29, 2023.

The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) has raised concerns as the number of bounced checks continues to surge, reaching a total of 36 in August 2023, with a combined value of €78,108.

Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli on Monday afternoon addressed an audience of international stakeholders at a London event, held during International Shipping Week, where she highlighted the advantages that Cyprus offers to shipping companies based on the island.

Real estate sales in Limassol rose to nearly half a billion euros in total value during the second quarter of 2023, according to a report released on Tuesday by Cypriot firm Ask Wire, a company that combines real estate expertise with advanced analytics.

The report highlighted the fact that the majority of buyer interest is directed towards apartments valued between €100,000 and €500,000, while most home sales fall in the €300,000 to €500,000 range.

Vehicle registrations in Cyprus experienced a significant spike of 28.1 per cent during the period of January to August 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, according to a report by the state’s statistical service.

The Cyprus Finance Ministry has not yet presented the revised bill aimed at creating a framework for overseeing foreign direct investments to the House of Parliament, according to statements made during a meeting of the House Finance Committee on Monday.

This delay is due to the ongoing legislative review process by the state’s legal service, following consultations held with stakeholders in August.

Opposition parties on Thursday said they have already drafted a bill cutting the special defence contribution from 30 to 17 per cent, pointing out that there was no need for the government to submit similar legislation.

The government’s policy of reducing the VAT rate, in some cases to zero, on various everyday products, has been “very successful”, according to the Consumer Protection Service’s director Constantinos Karagiorgis.

Speaking in a radio interview on Thursday in light of the government’s latest decision to add coffee and sugar to the zero-VAT list, he said the service’s research has shown that three-quarters of products with reduced or zeroed VAT rates have not seen their retail prices increase since the start of the scheme.