Cyprus makes Cyta privatisation move

The Finance Ministry has prepared a legislative draft as well as a proposal outlining regulatory guidelines that will denationalise Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta).

The two draft proposals were sent to the Cyta board on Monday night as well as to the relative unions representing the workers at the semi-governmental organisation. Cyprus has been attempting to sell a stake in Cyta as part of a sweeping privatisation programme that was part of an EU/IMF bail-in in 2013.

In the first phase, the bill calls for the creation of a successor company that – pending a date issued by a cabinet decree – will be a private entity tasked with running the authority.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades had previously stated that his government was struggling to find suitors to take over Cyta.

“We are finding it difficult (to privatise Cyta)…”, Georgiades said at an event at the London School of Economics. “But we will have another go.”

Unions, along with opposition party Akel, have opposed the move to privatise Cyta  as it will mean that it will operate under private laws and will force the government to a surrender a large chunk of its stake to private investors.

Cyta workers had threatened strike action if the government didn’t hold back from moving ahead with its plans. A Joint Advisory Committee had been established to oversee the privatisation plans across the island.

Meanwhile, Georgiades added that the Larnaca port should also be privatised this year and that plans to sell the country’s state lottery were progressing.


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