Opposition parties to reject ‘indirect privatisation’ budget for Cyta

21 Nov 2019

The leaders of three Cypriot opposition parties – the Democratic Party (Diko), the Progressive Party of Working People (Akel) and the Green Party – have stated that they would not approve a budget of EUR500,000 (USD553,000) earmarked for studies on whether Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) should sell shares and forge partnerships, arguing this would be just an indirect way of privatising the operator. Cyta’s board chairperson Rena Rouvitha Panou told MPs that Cyta’s post-tax surplus for 2018 amounted to EUR60.6 million, claiming this was the highest level of profit for the last seven years. Regarding 2019, the executive said that based on indications to date, ‘the post-tax surplus is estimated to be significantly higher than budgeted, while an increase in the total revenue of the utility is expected, reversing the trend of decreasing revenue in recent years.’ Following the meeting, Committee chairman and Diko MP Angelos Votsis stated that the improving financial results were ‘proof that the company is right to remain as is and continue to offer quality services’, adding that his party would not approve the budget for studies on whether the utility should issue shares or make partnerships, as ‘this is an indirect way to discuss privatisation again.’

The privatisation of public organisations including Cyta was one of Cyprus’ commitments to its Troika of international lenders – the IMF, the EC and the European Central Bank (ECB) – which was met with resistance from the opposition and the company itself. While a new bill outlining the privatisation was to be presented to parliament in January 2017, the process has since stalled due to disagreements between the majority of parties in parliament.

Cyprus, Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta)