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MPs sceptical over ministry’s move to ex-Laiki Bank HQ

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Laiki Bank which was shuttered in 2013

MPs raised concerns on Monday regarding the government’s plan to move the foreign ministry temporarily to the former Laiki Bank building while its current headquarters undergoes renovations.

The concerns were raised at the House finance committee, where chairwoman Christiana Erotokritou criticised what she described as “the inability of the state’s machinery to issue a certificate of final approval or take any decision over a 27-year-old building”.

A certificate of final approval for the purchase, which is to set the government back €18.5 million, has not yet been received, and MPs also raised concerns regarding the building’s energy efficiency.

The finance ministry had said they will proceed with the purchase of the building once it has been upgraded to energy efficiency category B+.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou asked whether any impact studies regarding the foreign ministry’s move to the building, and asked when the certificate of final approval would be received.

Meanwhile, Edek Leader Marinos Sizopoulos asked “how many millions of euros does the state give every year for unsuitable buildings which house state services?”

He said the number could exceed €40 million and called on the government to create a plan to develop modern buildings to house government services.

Green MP Charalambos Theopemptou said that existing legislation on energy efficiency prohibits the government from buying a building which does not comply with energy efficiency regulations, and that therefore the building would have to be brought up to modern standards before the purchase goes through.

To this end, he pointed out that the building’s exterior is entirely made of glass, which he said will point to a “special cost” for the relevant renovations.

 

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