By Panagiotis Kaparis
"Create a committee to dissolve all committees so that the country can move forward," said Theodoros Kolokotronis, observing the chaos in Greece after the 1821 revolution. Another saying goes, "Those who deliberate do not think." In Cyprus, the proliferation of committees, excessive bureaucracy, and overlapping responsibilities of high-ranking officials have reached unprecedented levels, especially when problems are on the rise.
"Super-minister" Irene Piki's management causes confusion among ministers and deputy ministers, and the roles of supervisors and deputy ministers remain unclear.
Recently, Deputy Minister of Innovation and Digital Policy, Philip Hadjizacharias, proudly announced that by 2024, Cyprus will have operational electronic identity cards and electronic signatures, managed through JCC, the banks' company handling credit cards. Contrastingly, our acquaintance Christodoulos Protopapa, CEO of ELLAS SAT, effortlessly received and signed multimillion-euro deals via email within minutes. The absurdity of Cyprus' inefficiencies became evident in our discussion.
In Parliament, the Internal Affairs Committee discussed the certification officer institution, where individuals pay to certify signatures for various transactions. The hassle of finding certifying officials, parking, and lost man-hours outweigh the value of the service in this age of digital precision.
The recent trend of requiring clean criminal record certificates for various professions, from teachers to journalists, adds another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Obtaining these certificates involves filling out forms, paying fees, and waiting for days when a simple digital check could suffice.
On the hill of the Presidential Palace, multiple committees compete with no tangible results. "Super-minister" Irene Piki's management causes confusion among ministers and deputy ministers, and the roles of supervisors and deputy ministers remain unclear. The bureaucratic chaos extends to parliamentary committees.
Meanwhile, citizens grapple with high rents, punctuality issues, and fines from photo-camera traps. Despite paying substantial taxes, the General Health System (GESY) remains dysfunctional, with long queues and reduced life expectancy. In education, nearly half of the students attend private schools, creating disparities. However, the resilient Cypriots, in their hopefulness, endure the challenges thrown at them by the authorities.