Privatisation of Cypriot state-owned national telecoms company Cyta has been put on hold until January 2017, after opposition parties joined forces in blocking the new government bill designed to privatise the telco, in-cyprus.com reports. AKEL MP Giorgos Loukaides told parliament that the legislation proposed not only the sale of the most profitable government organisation, but also the added burden of laid-off Cyta employees – who were currently being paid without cost to the government – on the public sector. The bill failed to secure the necessary majority in the 56-seat house, with 32 votes in favour, 21 against and one absence.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, a debt bailout deal between Cyprus and international creditors requires the privatisation of Cypriot institutions including Cyta. Under the terms of the bailout, Cyprus has to raise EUR1.4 billion (USD1.6 billion) by selling off state-owned companies in sectors including telecoms, energy and ports. In December 2015 the government approved legislation to privatise Cyta; the bill aimed to preserve salaries, job security, advancement prospects and the collective workers’ agreement, while new legislation also defines powers of the state to intervene in the company for national security reasons.