A PAPHOS-BASED development company warned on Tuesday that it would be forced to lay off hundreds of employees if the government did not examine its long-delayed applications, and issue permits for various big projects.
“They have us pinned down,” Alpha Panareti Public Ltd manager Andreas Ioannou told the Cyprus Mail. “We cannot maintain the company – the personnel – anymore.”
On Monday, some 600 company staff, including management, staged a protest outside the Paphos town hall in a bid to highlight the situation.
Board chairman Neophytos Ioannou told the assembled crowd that the company has not secured any town-planning permits in the past two years despite submitting applications for large and important projects like a small marina, a golf course, a desalination unit, two electricity production units using renewable energy sources and other ventures.
The company blamed the delays on bureaucracy and the frequent change in policies of various government departments.
“Unemployment could have been contained and the marker could recover if the government immediately issued permits for all these projects within the framework of legality and good governance,” the chairman said.
Andreas Ioannou said the company could be forced to lay off 700 to 800 of its 1,000 employees if the situation continues.
“It has been two and a half to three years and still going,” Ioannou said.
It could also stop giving work to around 1,000 associates.
He said in the case of the small marina, the company had been told by the authorities to find a recognised company and pay it to check the bottom of the sea for antiquities, without guarantee that it will be granted.
“You are the state, conduct your checks and let us know,” Ioannou said.
Responding to the claims, the Interior Ministry issued an announcement saying that in no case there has been excessive or unjustified delay by any of its departments in examining the applications.
Concerning the golf course, the ministry said that the application faced various problems and the company was obliged to fill it in order to conform with the conditions set by the government.
Nonetheless, government departments have expressed serious reservations concerning the possibility of contamination of the Kouris reservoir by the golf course, the ministry said.
“Other applications by the same company present complications to varying degrees or compound evaluations are necessary due to their possible effects,” the ministry said.
The marina application is with the Trade, Industry and Tourism Ministry and its examination will proceed when the company submits the additional information that was asked.