12° Nicosia,
18 July, 2024
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Cyprus reforms are a comedy of errors in governance

From local chaos to global sanctions, the ironies of some of Cyprus's challenges



Following last Sunday's vote, the much-publicized local government reform will take effect on July 1. This, like many other reforms, has been carried out in typical Cypriot fashion. In other words, there are still significant unresolved issues that Parliament must address regarding the Provincial Local Authorities to make them operational. The reform is far from guaranteed to proceed smoothly because crucial matters have been left unresolved until the last minute.

"What have Members of Parliament been doing all this time?" you might ask. They've been distributing electoral favors and exhausting themselves with theoretical exercises on scenarios that suit their convenience. Ultimately, they've achieved little, and now we await the inevitable headlines lamenting the chaos faced by our local leaders due to pending bills. Meanwhile, their salaries continue uninterrupted – jobs that often pay as handsomely as those of high-ranking bank executives.

Reminders from the Americans

The fallout from the boom in professional services over the past decade continues to haunt us. Just when we think we can move on, the US Treasury Department updates its sanctions lists, reminding us once again. This time, the issue revolves around off-road races used as a front for trafficking sensitive information. It seems our consultancy expertise has extended into every conceivable and improbable sector.

Unattainable dream?

The government is scrambling to salvage the situation at Vasilikos terminal, but as usual, tensions rise amidst leaks about a fierce battle to protect our interests. Efforts are underway to salvage the problematic agreement with the Chinese contractor, knowing that there's no viable Plan B if it falls apart. Another promising investment may soon end up in Greek courts, reminiscent of the unrealizable promise of cheap electricity made during the election campaign.

He made an impression

The new central bank governor made his debut at a press conference, leaving a strong impression. He even invited journalists to apply for positions at the central bank's press office. Addressing the hot-button issue of commercial bank interest rates, he advocates for self-regulation, urging banks to embrace greater social responsibility and manage their reputational risks more effectively.

Let's make a decision

It's time for Cyprus to decide its identity. Are we a strong economy with a high GDP per capita and a budget surplus, or are we still stuck in the Cyprus of the 1980s, grappling with hardship? Failure to decide means we'll struggle to meet basic needs, like reliable firefighting equipment and adequate school facilities in sweltering conditions. Rather than making excuses, it's time to define ourselves clearly and determine how we wish to be perceived by others. Otherwise, we risk endless debates that achieve little as time marches on.

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