Statements by the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou after meeting with shopping mall shopkeepers and owners of leisure and catering centres in Larnaca
Today we had a meeting with shopkeepers of the shopping mall, as well as with owners of leisure and catering centres in Larnaca.
We address an appeal to the government. Go out and see the real problems people are facing. Don’t stay in your offices far from real society and don’t form positions and views that have nothing to do with reality itself.
We had a very meaningful discussion, which highlighted the real problems small and medium size businesses (SME’s) face. It is no exaggeration to say that many of them will not be able to open again without the necessary support of the state. It the state’s obligation to provide support because it is because of the decisions it has taken that these people have suffered huge economic consequences over the last year due to the pandemic. The state isn’t to blame for the pandemic, but its decisions have affected these SME’s and it needs to see how it can support them.
The issue of rents is still a big problem. Unfortunately, the government, despite the proposals AKEL has submitted, hasn’t taken any decision on the issue.
Then there is the issue of evictions. The Parliamentary majority decided that evictions should be suspended for a period of time, until the enterprises resume their operations regularly. The President of the Republic referred the bill suspending evictions to the Supreme Court, resulting in the danger of evictions looming above their heads.
The third issue concerns support towards these SME’s either through a lump sum or through the procedure of guarantees which the state will give to the banks. Let me say that from what I’ve heard the lump sum given to businesses is a joke. It is an insignificant amount which cannot be considered as support. Regarding the support given to banks through the provision of guarantees by the state, allow me to clarify that as AKEL we are in favour – but under certain preconditions. That is to say, the large part, 750 million out of 1 billion, will go to SME’s on the basis of specific criteria and with decisions that will be taken by a committee that will monitor whether the decisions of the banks are implemented on the basis of these criteria.
And of course we believe that a comprehensive plan must be elaborated which will provide – with our exit from the pandemic – support towards SME’s to be reactivated. It is very important this is done, because as I have said before, most of these companies, which we all say are the Cyprus economy’s backbone, will not be able to kick start unless there is an all-round government scheme in place to provide support.
I reiterate my appeal to the relevant Government Ministers and President of the Republic to get out and see what the real problems are people are facing. By sitting at their desks in a virtual world they cannot know what the problems are.