President Nikos Christodoulides praised the Cyprus Association of Large Investment Projects for its contribution to the economy, while also stressing the importance of public-private sector collaboration in order to address affordable housing challenges.

In his address at the association’s annual general assembly, Christodoulides said that “the enduring journey of the association is inseparably linked to the progress and development of our country, with multibillion-euro projects and investments contributing, among many others, to the rise in domestic productivity, the creation of new job opportunities, and the enhancement of our country’s investment profile”.

“Undoubtedly, the association, beyond being a significant contributor to the Cypriot economy, serves as a partner and companion in our collective efforts to attract new investments to our country,” he stated.

“I want to assure you that we approach you as partners,” he added, noting that “through your targeted initiatives and the outward focus of your actions with projects of strategic significance, you have played a pivotal role over the past decade in positioning our country on the map of international investments”.

The president also highlighted that land development and other related investments have flourished in recent years, despite the fluctuating external environment.

He explained that international crises and regional developments inevitably impact the economic climate, necessitating targeted policies and actions for stability, economic growth, and social cohesion.

“In this context,” the president stated, “land development remains resilient and adaptable, contributing significantly to our developmental activities and attracting numerous high-quality investments, benefiting various sectors of our economy and society”.

Acknowledging the current challenges, the government, he said, has taken the necessary steps to maintain a stable environment conducive to economic growth, entrepreneurship, and social cohesion.

“Through targeted policies and interventions,” he noted, “we aim for structural changes, investment support, less bureaucracy, and improving people’s daily lives“.

Furthermore, the president underscored the government’s commitment to “people-centric actions”, particularly in ensuring adequate housing for all, including the younger generation.

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“We have embarked on a comprehensive housing policy,” he said, “aimed at increasing the country’s housing stock, both new and existing, and making it available at affordable prices”.

He stressed the importance of public-private collaboration in realising these goals, calling upon all stakeholders to work together to address the significant housing challenge, especially for the younger generation.

Moreover, the president underlined the importance of private sector engagement in the success of such initiatives.

“I say this because the success of such a project relies on the interest that the private sector will demonstrate – your interest, that is – in participating in our call for investment in the affordable housing market, with multiple benefits for all of us,” he said.

“Taking into account your expertise and listening to your concerns, we have formulated an attractive package of incentives aimed at increasing the units of quality housing for sale or rent at an affordable price,” he added.

Transitioning into specific policy measures, the president elaborated on initiatives such as the Built-to-Rent Scheme and the establishment of a Special Housing Fund, designed to facilitate affordable housing options.

He said the government remains committed to streamlining bureaucratic processes. “As part of the ongoing reform, all urban development applications leveraging housing incentives will be uniformly reviewed by the Director of the Department of Town Planning and Housing,” he said.

What is more, Christodoulides highlighted the importance of sustainable development, stating that “the concept of sustainability and the preservation of resources for future generations is of paramount importance to us”.

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He also underscored the government’s dedication to green initiatives, teasing the forthcoming announcement of a policy framework for renewable energy source zoning, which aligns with broader efforts to achieve national energy and climate goals while stimulating economic growth.

The president also highlighted the launch of an extensive campaign aimed at bolstering the country’s international image.

“Last week,” Christodoulides stated, “Invest Cyprus, acting on behalf of the government, initiated the selection process for consultants tasked with designing and executing this campaign”.

“Our objective is to enhance Cyprus’ reputation and standing on the global stage,” he added.

He explained that “through this endeavour, we will showcase the significant changes Cyprus has implemented, particularly in combating illegal financial activities and enforcing sanctions, underscoring our unwavering commitment to zero tolerance”.

“Additionally,” he continued, “we will spotlight sectors offering investment opportunities, including your sector”.

The president also touched on the difficulty of companies or individuals in securing construction-related licensing for various reasons.

“In the coming weeks,” the president announced, “we will develop a revised plan to incentivise the legalisation and licensing of unauthorised or new constructions within approved developments.”

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Explaining the objectives of the new plan, the president said “our aim is to implement tailored measures to resolve licensing issues for existing unauthorised constructions, considering the various associated challenges”.

“At the same time, we will facilitate the approval of new, small-scale constructions within existing approved developments,” he added.

Elaborating on the scope of the plan, the president said that the revised plan will encompass buildings approved after July 29, 2015, while also providing owners with the opportunity to legalise specific modifications made, subject to certain conditions.

Highlighting the intended use of funds generated through this process, the president said that “these funds will be channelled into financing projects for affordable housing, particularly targeting the younger generation”.

In his final remarks, the president said that “boosting entrepreneurship and shaping a stable, enticing investment landscape in our nation is a venture I’m confident we’ll always conquer with your partnership, driving the progress and prosperity our homeland deserves”.

“Undoubtedly, our collaboration, across all administrations, rests on genuine, steadfast foundations. I firmly believe this collaboration will persist and flourish,” he concluded.