Business leaders put the course of the economy and the future of business under the microscope

What are the major challenges for the coming years, what are the issues that concern businesses of all sectors and how can the state contribute to development? Answers were given during a panel discussion at the 14th Nicosia Economic Congress where business leaders discussed the state of the economy and the future of business.

Christos V. Vasiliou, Managing Director, KPMG Cyprus, Stavros Drakoularakos, General Manager, Philip Morris Cyprus & Malta, Nicolas Kyriakides, Partner, Harris Kyriakides, Thrasos Tsangarides, Founder & CEO, UW Group, Vicky Christofidou, AMLCO, ECOMMBX, and George Chrysochos, Director, Cyfield Group shared their assessments with the audience at the event in Nicosia on 9 April.

The businesspeople presented their own views on the future of the Cypriot economy, the issues that are high on the agenda, as well as the ways of exploiting the opportunities presented for the benefit of development and prosperity.

Vasiliou spoke about how the change in the economic model of Cyprus also changed the services provided. "Previously the model was based on offshore companies. Today the difference is huge,” he stated, going on to explain, "We have left the above model and come to the one that encourages investments in Cyprus".

According to Vasiliou, a more sustainable ecosystem is now being created on the island, which has led KPMG to develop specialised services that require knowledge and investment.

Drakoularakos spoke symbolically of the protective pillars as far as Cyprus and the economy are concerned, which at first glance, includes tourism, technology, etc.

"For me it's the country’s people. The ones it has to tap into while looking at the big picture," he commented, adding that "without them the country will enter a perpetual cycle of introversion".

He suggested that continuing to invest in the knowledge economy, and training people from the private sector was a key priority of the company he runs.

Kyriakides agreed that the Cypriot economy has changed direction. A change of course with a serious effort in a more transparent framework and one that, geographically, is looking in new directions. Regarding the first point, he said that a country that has the rule of law is logical to do better economically, and bring in more investments.

"Enough has been done. Perfect is the enemy of good,” he said. In addition, Kyriakides said that he has made relevant recommendations to the State, especially regarding primary jurisdiction.

Tsangarides described Cypriot shipping as an important pillar of the economy and that the changes occurred because the infrastructure was there, and how, "thus, Cypriot shipping was established" to play an important role today.

It feeds both our imports and exports, he pointed out, referring to the 5.5% increase in all ships registered under the Cypriot flag. Our development path is a given and we need to preserve it and invest in our competitiveness, he stressed.

Christofidou spoke of increased compliance costs and sanctions imposed on Cypriot companies with an impact on the country's reputation, to express her delight at the dialogue on single supervision.

After commenting on increased costs from regulatory compliance, laundering and cyber security issues, she put forward that growth comes from technology, changes in the regulatory framework, digital transformation and skilled and non-skilled manpower.

Chrysochos focused on additional factors of the economy. Last year "we broke every record in real estate and the largest construction budget from the state," he said, arguing that population growth means more production.

They are looking for real estate and investing,” he said. Chrysochos also referred to the large stock of deposits from the banks that finance with low deposit rates and how "in this way the increase in consumption is being promoted."

The construction of more highways in the country and energy upgrade plans also show that the government is continuing to fund, he added.

The discussion was moderated by Kyriakos Iordanos, General Manager of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.

Presented by: ECOMMBX, Hellenic Life, Pancyprian Insurance

Sponsors: Cyfield, Harris Kyriakides, KPMG, Philip Morris Cyprus, UW Group

Organisers: The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus, GOLD magazine

Moderator: IMH

Sponsor: Invest Cyprus

Communication Sponsors: ALPHA Cyprus, CBN, IN Business magazine, Reporter, Super FM

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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