The road ahead is difficult, but it also offers opportunity, according to the president
President Nikos Christodoulides made the keynote address at this year's Nicosia Economic Congress on Tuesday, emphasising his administration's commitment to economic progress and development while recognising the challenges ahead.
The president emphasised the importance of Cyprus fostering an atmosphere of innovation, progress, and prosperity in order to attract quality investment, entrepreneurship, and a good standard of living for its population.
“I assure you that we will work hard to create an environment conducive to innovation, progress and prosperity,” Christodoulides said.
“Especially today, when we are at a crossroads of an ever-changing global economy and with the geopolitical environment constantly changing, we are called upon not only to successfully face the challenges before us but also to seize the opportunities that also exist,” he added.
He explained that, despite the hardships of the previous year, such as the Covid-19 outbreak and the Ukrainian war, the Cypriot economy remained resilient and experienced a good rebound.
During his assessment of recent events, the president stated that the country's GDP expanded by 5.6 percent in 2022 after rising by 6.6 percent in 2021.
Furthermore, areas such as tourism, trade, lodging, and food services grew significantly, as did the field of information and communication technologies.
Looking ahead, the president acknowledged that the economic challenges of 2023, as well as the various dangers and negative consequences that accompany them, are projected to be slightly more severe than those of 2022.
Despite these problems, he stated that the government's goal is to create a sustainable and flourishing economy that benefits all Cypriots.
Christodoulides claimed that they are "in advanced consultations" with various countries and anticipate to see some "important investments" in the country by 2023.
“Already, we are in contact with some countries, in advanced consultations and we expect, within the coming year, to see some important investments in our country,” he stated.
“This includes an improvement of our relations with the countries of the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, as well as India and Japan, but also in terms of the framework of our new, strategic relationship with the USA,” he added, noting that “by making use of these excellent political relations, we will have some important investments to announce”.
Christodoulides stated that the government is directed by the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan to realise this vision for the economy and society.
The plan intends to improve the business climate by promoting a more diverse and resilient growth model.
Furthermore, it contains actions and reforms targeted at diversifying the economy, restraining excessive private sector borrowing, assuring the medium-term sustainability of public debt, and resolving non-performing loans (NPLs) both inside and outside the banking sector.
He stated that the adoption of these steps is critical in order to rectify the economy's weak and vulnerable points with long-term activities.
The Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan is predicted to have a major macroeconomic impact in the short, medium, and long term, according to the plan's economic impact assessment.
According to projections, the plan might result in a 3% rise in Cyprus's GDP in the short term and a 7% increase in the long term through 2026, when compared to the baseline development scenario without its implementation.
Furthermore, it is predicted to significantly expand employment by more than 2.5%, equivalent to around 11,000 additional quality jobs for the period 2021-2026, and approximately 6% in the long run.
The president highlighted that election cycles have no bearing on the government's approach for realising its vision for the economy and society.
“When we talk about the economy of a country, the planning, the vision for the future of the economy, this should not be affected by election cycles,” the president said.
“So, we are building on what has been achieved in recent years and we are here building on all of this to improve the weaknesses that we have identified that have arisen along the way and to create new perspectives for our country,” he added.
The government is working with the agencies concerned, the private sector, and parliamentary parties to properly and efficiently implement the actions indicated in the plan.
“In order to achieve our goals, we must give top priority to the digital transformation, aimed at strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure, promoting the use of digital technologies and stimulating the digital economy with the aim of creating an integrated digital state,” Christodoulides said.
“Investments in cyber security, digital skills training and 5G networks are fundamental to creating a more competitive and innovative economy capable of meeting the challenges of today’s digital age,” he added.
With these measures, the president said, Cyprus is on the path to becoming a model state that attracts quality investment, promotes entrepreneurship, and offers a high standard of living for its citizens.
“Our important priority is the promotion of entrepreneurship and the improvement of the business environment,” he said.
"Through the National Research and Innovation strategy, we implement a set of initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting research and innovation activities, as well as facilitating knowledge and technology transfer between research institutions and businesses," the president continued.
Furthermore, Christodoulides stated that the central Knowledge Transfer Office's functioning will facilitate the commercialization of research findings and technology by connecting researchers with enterprises and other potential users of research findings.
Finally, the president stated that one of his administration's primary goals is "the assurance of conditions of prosperity for the entire society."
He went on to say that the goal is to eliminate inequities and offset the negative effects of growing energy costs on enterprises and citizens alike.
Finally, the president warned that “we must not forget that the road ahead is complex and full of challenges both regionally and internationally, however, challenges and crises always create opportunities”.
“We should take advantage of these opportunities and achieve the effective implementation of all that we have planned. I believe that this is the only way and can lead us to achieve our goals,” he concluded.
By fLEXI tEAM