Daily Archives: April 3, 2013

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New: Bank workers to stage two-hour strike over provident funds, jobs

 

BANK workers union ETYK has urged its members to participate in a two-hour warning strike tomorrow to demand protection of provident funds and their jobs.

The work stoppage will start at 12.30pm.

The union said it was concerned because despite the government’s promises “issues that regard our future and the future of our children are still pending.”

The risk to the provident funds belonging to the workers of Laiki and Bank of Cyprus and other people was still present, despite their efforts, ETYK said.

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‘Better’ bailout deal clinched

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday clinched a deal with the troika on a €10 billion bailout programme with ‘better’ terms than the previous draft memorandum, said government spokesman Christos Stylianides. 
“This is a very important development which ends a very long period of uncertainty,” he said, adding that the conditions have now been put in place to inject life back into the economy.
The deal, which requires ratification from eurozone finance ministers and national EU parliaments, will see Cyprus receiving a €10 billion loan, carrying an interest rate of between 2.5 and 2.7 per cent. It is repayable over a 12 year period after a grace period of a decade.

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Our View: Is young, driven new minister the right man for the job? That remains to be seen

DID HE jump or was he pushed? This is the question many will be asking after yesterday’s announcement that finance minister Michalis Sarris had tendered his resignation after only a month in the job. It was certainly no ordinary month, but a month of crises, ultimatums and desperate negotiations that led to the adoption of very painful decisions from which the economy would take many years to recover.

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‘Cyprus could be out of the woods by 2016’

CONTRARY to the government spokesman’s statement that Cyprus would see a primary surplus in 2018, quoting the memorandum, Reuters reported last night that the island should reach a primary surplus of 4.0 per cent of GDP in its budget from 2017 onwards to ensure public debt falls.
It also said Cyprus would have a budget deficit before debt servicing costs of €395 million, or 2.4 per cent of GDP this year, a bigger gap than the 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2012.
Next year the primary deficit would grow to €678 million, or 4.25 per cent of GDP and then shrink to €344 million, or 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2015.
In 2016, the island is to reach a primary surplus of €204 million, or 1.2 per cent of GDP and 4.0 per cent from 2017 onwards.

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Business class axed, wages frozen for state officials

ONLY President Nicos Anastasiades and parliamentary speaker Yiannakis Omirou of all government officials will now be entitled to fly business class, as part of the austerity Cyprus agreed to with international lenders in exchange for a bailout.
The ban on business class travel for government employees will not apply to transatlantic flights, said a memorandum of understanding between Cyprus and the eurozone.
Apart from the restrictions on more comfortable travel, senior government officials will also lose the right to buy duty-free cars and all state officials and parliamentarians will have wages frozen until 2016, the document said.

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Sarris resigns to facilitate investigation

FINANCE MINISTER Michalis Sarris resigned yesterday after concluding a €10 billion bailout deal with international lenders in which the country almost overnight downsized its dominant banking sector and hit depositors with losses for the first time in the eurozone.
Sarris, who was dispatched to Moscow last month seeking Russian aid as an alternative to across the board bank levies in Cyprus but returned empty-handed, said his main goal of agreeing a deal with lenders had been accomplished.
But he said it was also appropriate to resign since his previous role as chairman of the Popular Bank, or Laiki, – the island’s second largest lender wound down under terms of the bailout – was also likely to come under scrutiny.

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Committee of Inquiry sworn in

THE three-man Committee of Inquiry into whether there were civil, political or criminal responsibilities attached to the near- bankruptcy of the economy, were sworn in yesterday by President Nicos Anastasiades.
The committee comprises Giorgos Pikis, a former Supreme Court judge and former member of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and former Supreme Court judges Panayiotis Kallis and Yiannakis Constantinides.
The Cabinet appointed the committee on March 28, just days after a harsh bailout deal was reached with Cyprus’ international lenders, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

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President’s in-laws say lost €15m in write-down

A COMPANY linked with President Nicos Anastasiades, which the opposition claims transferred millions out of Cyprus after a tip off, said yesterday it would bring back the money under certain conditions.
Both Anastasiades and the company have rejected the allegations, published by Haravghi, the mouthpiece of former ruling party AKEL.
The company, belonging to Anastasiades’ daughter’s parents-in-law, A. Loutsios and Sons Ltd, had never denied transferring €10.5 million to Barclays PLC in London, from its bank accounts in Laiki just days before the Eurogroup decided to raid people’s deposits on March 16.

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Capital restrictions eased slightly

A FINANCE ministry decree, the third since controls were first introduced, yesterday raised the ceiling on transactions which do not require Central Bank approval to €25,000 from €5,000.
It also permits the use of cheques worth up to €9,000 per month.
Other restrictions introduced last week, including a €300 per day cash withdrawal limit and a €1,000 euro limit on the amount travellers can take overseas, remain in place.
Employer organisation OEV said the measure was in the right direction but was not enough for businesses to cover their obligations.
OEV urged the Central Bank to immediately review its decision and free the whole amount – 40 per cent – of uninsured deposits in the Bank of Cyprus.

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Former BoC boss slams Christofias government

THE former CEO of the Bank of Cyprus yesterday accused the previous administration and the Central Bank governor of destroying the island’s biggest lender in a bid to cover themselves for the island’s economic woes.
Breaking his silence after nine months, Andreas Eliades, who resigned in July last year, claimed that certain circles, inside and outside BoC, not only failed to join forces but they undermined every effort to tackle the crisis.
“Unfortunately, developments confirmed that it was all part of a well-devised plan to break up the entire banking sector and especially the Bank of Cyprus, which was in good financial condition at the time,” Eliades said in an article published by financial portal Stockwatch.

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