Daily Archives: January 17, 2013

Archives January 17, 2013 posted by

Cabinet approves new property taxes


THE CABINET yesterday approved new immovable property tax (IPT), which exempts property of up to €40,000 at 1980s values, but also scrapped the tax-free threshold.

This means that if a property was worth €50,000 at 1980 levels, the tax will be charged on the full €50,000 and not just the €10,000 difference. 

The bill, which will be submitted to parliament today, is in line with a preliminary bailout agreement and could fetch the government some €120 million in 2013.

The government expects to collect at least €90 million, meeting its obligation to international lenders, it said.

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Power struggle with troika over hydrocarbons

COMMERCE MINISTER Neoclis Sylikiotis’ yesterday called on legislators and state officials not to let the troika have a say over the country’s hydrocarbon resources, indicating that the power struggle between the government and troika over natural resources has yet to be resolved. 

When the government announced reaching a preliminary agreement with the troika on an international bailout last November, President Demetris Christofias was at pains to stress the government’s hard-fought victory which ensured the troika would not have a hand in the management of Cyprus’ natural gas resources.  

However, based on what came to light yesterday, it became clear that the matter was far from over. 

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EAC ordered to suspend new hike

THE CYPRUS Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) yesterday decided to cancel the price increase imposed on energy bills by the electricity authority (EAC) on January 1 based on a recalculation of the fuel cost formula. 

CERA released an announcement saying it has instructed the EAC to suspend the fuel adjustment imposed after a rise in fuel costs last November was passed on to the consumer. 

The decision will come as good news to consumers who feared yet another hike in electricity prices, which are already some of the highest in Europe.  

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Man finds bomb on his car and takes it to police station

A MAN triggered a security scare in Nicosia when he walked into a central police station carrying a bomb he found in his driveway, saying he wanted officers to examine it.

Police said Petros Konafis, 33, a former footballer and now agent, discovered a suspicious device on the rear window of his car and after drawing a blank on what it was doing there, decided to take it to the Paphos Gate for further scrutiny by experts.

Police discovered it was a makeshift bomb which had failed to go off, triggering the evacuation of the complex.

It appears however that it was not until the arrival of the bomb squad that everyone realised what they had been handling.

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Banks will need €10b at the most, CB boss says

CENTRAL Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades yesterday said that Cypriot banks will need at most, less than €10 billion in rescue money, as he dismissed money laundering allegations as “greatly exaggerated.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Demetriades said Cypriot banks would need at worst “less than €10 billion” in rescue money, but did not provide a specific figure.

Citing a reliable source, the Cyprus News Agency said the amount was close to €9.0 billion but negotiations were still ongoing.

Cyprus is currently engaged in discussions with its lenders and the company that undertook a due diligence on banks in a bid to adjust downwards the figure attached to the worst-case scenario.

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Milk price cap in effect from Monday

THE commerce minister yesterday issued a decree putting a cap on the wholesale and retail price of milk that will come into effect on Monday.

The cap is €1.41 per litre for retail and €1.32 per litre for wholesale, including VAT, Commerce Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said. 

The minister said the decree aimed at protecting consumers and local production, which would be affected by successive price hikes.

“With this intervention we fix prices at their current level and prevent knock-on hikes because of the four cent rise imposed by the cattle farmers and the assertion by the manufacturers that they would apply a nine cent rise, which we consider irrational,” the minister said.

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Orphanides chain still in limbo

NOT enough suppliers of the indebted Orphanides Supermarkets chain have agreed with a proposal to take over management of some outlets aimed to secure the supermarkets’ ability to stay afloat, it emerged yesterday. 

The suppliers, led by supplier Cypra Ltd and Giorgos Georgiou, have formed a new entity Orphanides New Era in order to directly manage some outlets and, they hope, the supermarkets’ ability to meet their obligations.

But in order for the deal to carry forward, a number of suppliers collectively owed €50 million need to agree. As of yesterday, the figure came to only €20 million, Georgiou said in an announcement.

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Moving towards civil partnerships


THE INTERIOR ministry is working on a civil partnership bill to regulate non-marital relationships, which will secure couples’ rights and freedom to choose the nature of their personal relationships.

“The interior ministry is working on a bill that will accommodate civil partnership unions,” Interior Minister Eleni Mavrou said, responding to a question set by AKEL deputy Irene Charalambidou who wanted to know how far along the draft bill was.

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