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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-12

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, September 12, 2002


  • [01] Consumers demand money back from CyTA
  • [02] CyTA union gives ministry 10 days to back agreement
  • [03] Decision on elections by mid-October - Anastassiades
  • [04] Consumers' Association to 'name and shame' price bandits
  • [05] Direct talks resume
  • [06] Getting to grips with the tax revolution

  • [01] Consumers demand money back from CyTA

    By Alex Mita

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday the monopoly situation was to blame for CyTA's excessive earnings.

    Neophytou's comments came after a meeting with Consumers' Association president Petros Markou, at which the recent 20 million fine imposed on CyTA was discussed.

    "It is the government's responsibility to scrap the monopoly as soon as possible in order to liberalise the market so it would offer cheaper and better services through healthy competition," he said.

    Neophytou insisted that returning the surplus to the people might not help the less well off, adding it was more beneficial to the public for CyTA to donate 30 million for culture, sports and education.

    However, Markou said the Consumers' Association had unanimously agreed on a resolution demanding a reduction in rates while at the same time calling for the return of the surplus to the people.

    Markou added that the association was taking legal advice on whether consumers would be entitled to take legal action against CyTA to get their money back.

    "We cannot accept CyTA claims that they have the cheapest rates compared to the rest of Europe," he said.

    "We should compare our prices based on the cost in Cyprus."

    Neophytou agreed with Markou, saying the people had a democratic right to seek legal action where they felt they have been wronged. He noted that CyTA should lower their rates.

    "The consumer is entitled to lower rates and CyTA should lower its rates, but not below cost," Neophytou said.

    But the Consumer Association might find it difficult to put a case together against CyTA: according to CyTA's legal advisor, the authority destroys its records at the end of the year.

    Markou said the Consumers' Association did not think a serious company would be destroying its financial records.

    "It is naive to believe that a serious company such as the Authority is destroying its records. According to Income Tax legislation, we are obliged to retain records for a period of seven years. How can they tell us they destroyed last year's records? We cannot accept that."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] CyTA union gives ministry 10 days to back agreement

    By Alex Mita

    CYTA employees' union EPOET yesterday gave the Finance Ministry 10 days to approve a collective agreement signed between themselves and the CyTA Board of Directors or face industrial action.

    CyTA spokesman Paris Menelaou said the Authority had initially agreed to renew the collective agreement.

    "An outline of the agreement was sent to the Finance Ministry after being approved by the Communications Ministry," he said.

    "However, the Finance Minister sent the outline back because he disagreed with four provisions."

    Menelaou said the Board of Directors would meet with the Finance Minister to persuade him to accept at least three of the four provisions.

    "We are not in a dead end situation, but the unions are justly concerned because the three-year agreement should have been signed in 2001 and we are now near the end of 2002," he noted.

    In a written statement yesterday, opposition AKEL blasted the government's stance on the issue, saying it was unacceptable and harsh.

    "The government's actions do not agree with union law and tradition, which until today saw the government approve agreements between employers and employees," the statement read.

    "The attempted blackmail from Neophytou aimed at achieving fixed political goals for the sell-out of CyTA to private hands is aimed to derail union rights on the island."

    Right wing union SEK said it opposed the fact that the government interfered in the system of free collective negotiations over an agreement that both sides had agreed.

    In a written statement, SEK said the government's actions were in breach of collective negotiation laws and violated the spirit of the Code of Industrial Relations.

    "The problem created is a serious one and it will only be solved with the implementation of the agreement that both sides freely agreed upon," the statement read.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Decision on elections by mid-October - Anastassiades

    DISY will make its final decision concerning the presidential elections by mid-October at the latest, party leader Nicos Anastassiades said yesterday.

    If everything goes well, the party will support KISOS chairman and presidential candidate Yiannakis Omirou, Anastassiades said.

    Speaking after meeting Omirou yesterday, Anastassiades said they had agreed to prepare a comprehensive government programme, adding that DISY fully agreed with Omirou's proposals.

    "We especially agree on the issue of managing our national problem and Europe, thus we kick off with excellent signs and I hope we conclude with even better results," Anastassiades said.

    The DISY chief said he was optimistic that Omirou would win the elections, based on the programme and society's demands and added that, for his party, Omirou's candidacy was not a matter of bilateral co-operation, but one of support for the KISOS chairman.

    Omirou said he aimed to lead Cyprus into a new era in Europe, without Euro- scepticism or Euro-phobia, and expressed his conviction that in the next few weeks his candidacy would be supported by a wider spectrum of social and popular forces, as well as DISY.

    "My goal is to form a government of the widest possible consent, because I believe that the next few years will be critical and decisive and will seal the future of Cyprus for the next decades," Omirou said.

    Regarding Anastassiades' proposal for the immediate formation of a government of national unity, Omirou said that if the President of the Republic judged that such an arrangement was necessary because of developments, then KISOS would look into the proposal with a sense of responsibility.

    "The new era we have entered is not an era for Messiahs but for making the most of the collective wisdom and the abilities of many people," Omirou said.

    He added: "This is today's European model of governing."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Consumers' Association to 'name and shame' price bandits

    By George Psyllides

    THE price of fruit and vegetables increased by almost 40 per cent in August, the Consumers' Association said yesterday.

    The chairman of the association, Petros Markou, said yesterday that, from today, members of the association would be visiting supermarkets to draw up a report on prices to be published in 10 days' time, so consumers could be informed and take their decisions accordingly.

    Markou said the association was embarking on a "multi-frontal attack against the unacceptable and inflated increase" in the prices of products, adding there were blatant cases that the association would try to highlight with the help of specialised associates.

    He added that "fruit and vegetables had increased by almost 40 per cent" in August, accusing some people of "exploiting certain situations".

    He pointed out the majority of foodstuffs were VAT free, so increases could not be blamed on the two point rise in VAT over the summer.

    He said members of the association would from today visit supermarkets and then draft lists with the prices of certain products and the venue where they were sold.

    Markou added: "If after what we come up with, we see that the situation continues to be unacceptable, then we won't hesitate in asking consumers to take measures themselves."

    Last month, Greek consumer bodies called on the public to boycott shops for one day in protest at price rises since the introduction of the euro.

    But Markou said the association wanted to exhaust all other options before deciding on such measures.

    The government, however, repeated yesterday that it had no legal right to intervene on prices.

    "It is an issue troubling Brussels all the time; we cannot intervene on prices, full stop," Trade and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis said.

    "We have no way of doing so, and if we attempt to do it, they will block our way to Europe because we are intervening with the free market."

    The minister conceded that the prices on some products had gone up due to taxation, but argued that Cyprus had to impose the taxes because of EU harmonisation.

    He insisted Cyprus remained a low-inflation economy, with the cost of living rising slower than elsewhere in the EU.

    The minister added price rises were not as spectacular as was being made out, but admitted some cases had been noted in tourist areas.

    He added, however, that Cyprus still had lower prices than many other countries, including Spain, Greece, and Italy.

    Asked of the possibility of a consumer boycott similar to that in Greece, Rolandis said that, "if needed, it could happen here," adding the government was willing to assist the Consumers' Association in such actions and would also finance them. The Greek boycott took place with the tacit approval of the government in Athens.

    Rolandis added that the Consumers' Association received 40,000 a year, while an additional amount would be given this year to pay for research.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Direct talks resume

    DIRECT talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash resumed yesterday following a meeting in Paris between the two leaders and UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan last Friday.

    Clerides and Denktash met for about an hour, in the presence of their respective advisers and with Annan's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, in the UN-controlled Nicosia Airport.

    According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Denktash is said to have repeated his long-standing positions on the thorny issue of sovereignty, which have blocked progress towards a negotiated settlement since the talks began in January.

    In Paris, Annan invited the two leaders to New York on October 3 and 4 after asking them to intensify their efforts for a solution. He said that although gaps still existed they could be bridged.

    But the government warned earlier this week against harbouring any expectations of significant progress on the Cyprus issue from next month's meeting due to the unstable political situation in Turkey, where electors go to the polls on November 3.

    Clerides also said that on fundamental issues such as sovereignty and the establishment of a new state, there appeared to be "no way of closing the gap".

    The two leaders will meet again on Friday morning.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Getting to grips with the tax revolution

    By Soteris Charalambous

    EUROPEAN Union (EU) accession legislation has already affected the lives of Cypriots, and its effects on the island's large expatriate community will be equally sweeping and require some adjustments.

    Following on from the age old adage that prevention is better than cure, OFS WorldNet Ltd have joined forces with PricewaterhouseCoopers to present a seminar focusing on the needs of expatriates living in Cyprus during these changing times, entitled 'Personal Wealth-Health Check Up'.

    Aimed at helping expats come to grips with the ongoing regulatory and taxation changes, the seminar will focus on the effects of these changes on pensions, external health care plans, residency status, offshore investments, investment in property and purchase of duty free vehicles. Financial services such as international mortgages will also be covered.

    "Overseas Financial Services (OFS) aims to bring together private clients, service advisors with product producers," said Ene Glykys of OFS Worldnet.

    "These upcoming changes will affect each and every expat on the island. The information seminar is designed to prepare expats for the changes ahead," said Glykys, "Expats need not be taken by surprise by the new tax laws."

    PricewaterhouseCoopers' Cleo Papadopoulou, who will be focusing on taxation of expats' income, said, "Income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax will discussed, we will look at how the legislation stands at the moment and what the situation is going to be next year."

    The 'Personal Wealth-Health Check Up' takes place on Wednesday September 18, from 5-7pm at the Atlantica Bay Hotel in Limassol. To reserve a place of for more information e-mail or contact Ene Glykys at 25- 811150.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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