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Marios Tannousis: “Our commitment to receiving and acting on investor feedback is a core part of our mandate”

Key investors on the island were left satisfied by their latest meeting with the government, particularly appreciating its proactive approach in providing feedback and showing a genuine interest in understanding their challenges and concerns, according to Invest Cyprus CEO Marios Tannousis. Here, he talks about the feedback Invest Cyprus has received from investors and the next steps moving forward.

Invest Cyprus and the government met with some of the island’s key foreign investors last week to present the work that has been done since receiving their feedback last June. Are you satisfied with the outcome?

We are extremely satisfied with the outcomes of the recent meeting. The feedback and concerns raised by investors in the initial July 2023 meeting have been thoroughly addressed by President Christodoulides, various ministers, and deputy ministers. This session provided a valuable platform for investors to voice additional concerns regarding their investments and the broader investment climate, which the government addressed effectively. Notably, initiatives such as the implementation of the Strategic Development Law in Q2 2024 and the forthcoming legislation on the Blue Card are commendable steps forward. Additionally, the government has implemented measures to streamline the naturalisation process for highly skilled employees, demonstrating a commitment to improving the investment environment.

Have you received feedback from any of the investors about the latest meeting? How pleased are they with what they heard?

Yes, we've maintained ongoing communication with the investors, all of whom have expressed their satisfaction with the latest meeting. They particularly appreciated the government's proactive approach in providing feedback and showing a genuine interest in understanding their challenges and concerns, aiming to offer support. Our commitment to receiving and acting on investor feedback is a core part of our mandate, and we are actively coordinating with various ministries to address and resolve issues efficiently.

Two of the main issues the investors raised were the lack of private schools and affordable housing to bring more staff to the island. How can Invest Cyprus help in this regard? What measures do u believe can be taken to resolve these issues?

Invest Cyprus is keenly aware of the importance of education and housing in attracting and retaining international companies and their staff. We advocate for the expansion of existing private school capacities and the licensing of new schools as needed. The Council of Ministers' decision to allow for the exceptional enrolment of relocated children into suitable schools is a step in the right direction, ensuring a smoother transition for families moving to Cyprus. Additionally, as the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport announced during the roundtable, the Business Facilitation Unit (BFU), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education have completed the recording of the process of establishing a private school. The document will be translated and posted on the BFU’s website as official guidelines in the first quarter of 2024. The accelerated examination procedure by the Department of Town Planning and Housing is already under way.

On the housing front, while the challenge of affordable housing is not unique to Cyprus, we are encouraged by the government's recent initiatives aimed at improving the situation. These include incentives for projects targeted at middle-income households, such as increased buildable floor area and tax benefits. We believe these measures, along with the natural adjustment of supply and demand, will gradually improve the housing market, aligning with our goal to make Cyprus an attractive destination for living, working, and doing business by 2035.

Will there be another meeting with the investors?

Following the successful meetings in June 2023 and the recent session, it's clear that the government, under President Christodoulides, is deeply committed to engaging with and supporting foreign investors. Invest Cyprus will continue to play a pivotal role in organising these meetings alongside the Presidency. Such engagements are crucial for enhancing the investment landscape, contributing to economic growth, and creating jobs through foreign investment. We are committed to maintaining this dialogue and addressing the evolving needs of the investment community.

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