How Cyprus can attract more strategic investments and large developments

The need to form an integrated strategy to increase productive foreign investments, making Cyprus competitive, as well as the creation of a new modern development model, have been emphasised by the President of the Cyprus Association of Large Investment Projects Andreas Demetriades.

In an interview with InBusinessNews, Demetriades points out that the new planning model should aim for the enhanced international competitiveness, resilience and adaptability of the economy, extroversion, innovation and ensuring environmental and social sustainability. He notes that the Association has prepared a full memorandum for the President of the Republic, with recommendations and implementable proposals, with a view to attracting productive foreign investments.

Analysing the multifaceted benefits of large developments for the Cypriot economy, he explains that large developments are essentially an investment in the very future of the country, calling on the government to provide the necessary incentives for the creation of infrastructure that, together with the private sector and the specialised and qualified personnel, will contribute decisively to the implementation of large and integrated investments, in the interest of all Cypriot society.

At the same time, the President of the Cyprus Association of Large Investment Projects deems it necessary to create a Deputy Ministry of Development and Competitiveness, which will house a Single Service for Investors for Strategic Investments, as well as a One Stop Shop, which will contribute substantially and decisively towards speeding up processes and improving the business climate.

"Thus, we will attract more investments and major development projects will be licensed," Demetriades underlines in this regard, stressing that such high-level services will contribute the most to the promotion of Cyprus as a modern regional business centre and as an attractive investment and tourist destination.

How much have large development projects changed the image of Cyprus and what are your expectations for upcoming developments?

I think without a doubt that they have changed it to a very great extent. However, my own expectations do not stop here, as our country meets all the criteria to establish itself as a regional business centre.

Cyprus also has all the necessary guarantees to become a regional centre for the provision of high medical and pharmaceutical health services, with the restructuring of health services and the implementation of the General Healthcare System.

At the same time, the development of the higher education sector can, in turn, provide significant intellectual, cultural, economic and social benefits to our country. The technology and IT sector is another promising sector, which has already attracted a significant number of foreign companies.

However, in order for the specific economic activities to be achieved, the state needs to create the relevant framework, providing the necessary incentives to support the private sector.

The aim is that the upcoming developments can be implemented unhindered and within the expected time frames, since the importance they have for the state itself, but also for Cypriot society in general, is obvious.

Which projects are included in the portfolio of members of the Association, what is their value and when is their completion estimated?

First of all, let me note that the Association of Large Investment Projects is 10 years old, is a member of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCC) and has 16 registered members.

Our members have implemented or are promoting some of the largest infrastructure and development projects in Cyprus.

Our portfolio includes around 19 large and notable enrichment projects such as marinas, golf course developments, universities, medical centres, rehabilitation centres, technology parks, research centres, major tourism projects, complexes and other developments.

Some of them are in the process of starting implementation and some others are at a much more advanced stage.

In total, the value of the projects represented by the Association reaches €8 billion, as a condition for the admission of a new member to the Association of Major Developments is the development of projects in excess of €50 million.

Major developments are an investment in the future of Cyprus

What is the importance and contribution of major developments to the economy (e.g. GDP, employment)?

Based on what I have mentioned before, I believe that the great importance of the Association and its members in the economy, but also in the sustainable development of Cyprus, is demonstrated.

The large development projects, in addition to promoting the state's strategic goals for development, lead to the attraction of direct investment from abroad. This results in the inflow of tax revenues to the state coffers and the return of the Cypriot economy to growth rates, as well as to the investment grade of international rating agencies.

These projects come to certify the key contribution of the large developments sector, as the construction sector employs more than 40,000 workers, confirming its contribution to both GDP and jobs.

This is why it has always been one of the main flourishing branches of the Cypriot economy. In addition, the infrastructure and development projects strengthen the tourism product of our country, attracting thousands of new tourists every year.

By extension, I believe that beyond the obvious strengthening of the Cypriot economy, large developments are essentially an investment in the very future of our country.

Let's also not forget that the green transition is one of the most modern challenges that Cyprus has to face, as it is not just a political commitment and a European obligation, but a necessity.

Environmental sustainability aims to improve the quality of our daily lives, ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for all of us. Private initiatives and large developments moving in this direction are crucial to achieving this collective goal.

The government providing the required incentives

What is their role in the effort to attract foreign investment, establish foreign companies in Cyprus and strengthen the tourism product?

Their role is clearly decisive and interconnected. Through the large developments, there is clear interest in foreign investment as they span a wide range of activities, from marinas and golf course developments to technology parks, universities and medical centres.

Automatically, this leads to the strengthening of our tourism product, making our country an attractive destination internationally. On the other hand, the establishment of foreign companies in Cyprus, the so-called headquartering, also has a multitude of benefits.

Having as a key advantage our geostrategic position, combined with favourable tax legislation and the stable monetary system of the Eurozone, foreign companies consider it in their interest to move their headquarters or regional offices to our country.

To do so, however, they need infrastructure that will house both the companies themselves and the workers and their families. Especially when we are talking about international companies, foreign language schools, universities and accommodation are essential conditions.

This is precisely where the contribution of the major developments lies. The point is that the private sector is ready to make a decisive contribution to the implementation of such large and integrated investments.

We have specialised and qualified staff, who can offer high-level services, but we lag behind in terms of infrastructure. Therefore, it is necessary for the government in turn to provide the required incentives for their realisation, as it is in the interest of the entire Cypriot society.

Because investments create new jobs, promote technological innovation and strengthen the domestic economy, while at the same time Cyprus gathers the interest of the international business community.

Can you tell us more about your cooperation with the state and how your contacts with corresponding organisations abroad are progressing?

Having as a constant priority the creation of a friendly business climate in order to overcome obstacles that discourage or alienate foreign investors, we have developed a dialogue with the relevant government agencies.

From time to time, we have expressed our concerns regarding the course of major developments in Cyprus, putting forward a series of realistic suggestions for their resolution.

As a country we must formulate a comprehensive strategy to increase productive foreign investment, making our country competitive against other countries. We need to create a new modern development model, which will lead to the achievement of sustainable development.

The new model should aim at enhanced international competitiveness, resilience and adaptability of the economy, extroversion, innovation and ensuring environmental and social sustainability.

As an Association, we have prepared a full memorandum for the President of the Republic of Cyprus, with recommendations and implementable proposals, with a view of attracting productive foreign investments, which will contribute to the development of the Cypriot economy, improve the quality of our goods and services, while strengthen the competitiveness of our country.

Foreign investment is a powerful source of creating and sustaining meaningful employment for large segments of society and contributes positively to exports, as foreign investors are usually more oriented towards foreign markets than local firms.

In the same context, the actions of the members of our Association is continuing. In collaboration with ambassadors located in Cyprus and abroad, we are planning a series of business missions, with the aim of promoting major developments to find new capital.

Our members, through the continuous contacts they maintain abroad, promote our country, focusing on the Cypriot economy and the investment opportunities it offers, with the interest being, admittedly, encouraging.

Also important is our perennial presence at international business forums, in the context of which the advantages of Cyprus as an investment destination, the incentives it offers to foreign investors and the projects of our Association members are presented.

The creation of a Deputy Ministry of Development and Competitiveness is necessary

How much do urban planning incentives and legislation to facilitate investments contribute to the promotion and implementation of large development projects and what are your suggestions for further improvement of the processes? Why do you consider it necessary to create a Deputy Ministry of Development?

Both urban planning incentives and legislation to facilitate investments are of decisive importance. Because at the moment, unfortunately, it is difficult and time-consuming for an investor to use his money in Cyprus.

There is a lot of bureaucracy and endless procedures, which ultimately end up being a deterrent and unprofitable with the delays that are presented.

Time and time again, we have emphasised the imperative need for the modernisation and digital transformation of the public sector, and among our recommendations are decentralised business services, the extension of public service working hours, a favourable licensing environment and the reduction of energy costs.

This is why we consider it necessary to create a Deputy Ministry of Development and Competitiveness, which will house a Single Service for Investors for Strategic Investments, as well as a One Stop Shop, contributing essentially and decisively to the acceleration of procedures and the improvement of business climate.

Thus, we will attract more investments and large development projects will be permitted. These services, by extension, will contribute the most to the promotion of Cyprus as a modern regional business centre and as an attractive investment and tourist destination, thus giving new dynamics to the efforts made to raise our country in international competitiveness indicators.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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