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Combatting construction sector decline

The Federation of Associations of Building Contractors Cyprus has submitted a number of proposals to the Government and political parties aimed at supporting the sector and creating conditions for its recovery.

COSTAS Roushias, the President of the Federation of Associations of Building Contractors Cyprus (OSEOK), has painted an alarming picture of the state of the island’s construction sector.

Speaking to delegates at the Federation’s the 18th annual general meeting in Nicosia over the weekend, Mr Roushias reported that the sector has been contracting over the past four years with its value shrinking 39 per cent to just €1.9 billion in 2012 from €3.05 billion in 2008.

Unemployment in the sector has increased significantly with the monthly average of unemployed workers rising from 902 in 2008 to 6,177 in 2012; an increase of 585%.

He pointed out that Cyprus’ economic crisis has had a negative effect on the turnover of construction companies. It has resulted in lower activity, reduced investments in construction, low liquidity and difficulties in securing financing – and in some cases this has led to delays in making payments and freezing payments for projects that have already been completed.

The Federation has submitted a number of proposals to Government and political parties, which are aimed at supporting the sector and creating conditions for its recovery. Temporary measures include abolishing Property Transfer Fees where no VAT is payable, reducing VAT to 5% for all sector-related transactions and reducing Capital Gains Tax.

Other proposals include measures to combat late payments on public works projects, implementing large public sector projects and making an immediate start on creating the necessary energy infrastructure.

Readers' comments

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  • @aggisdemetri – CPAG organised a demonstration some time ago that was reported in the local media, including TV – see http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2009/06/05/cyprus-president-avoids-demonstrators/id=001608

    Around 200-300 people took part.

  • aggisdemetri says:

    When was there ever a demonstration of any kind for “My house needs a title”
    Is there 130,000+ properties in Cyprus with no titles? or is it cods-wallop?

    Instead of us fingering the keyboard how about standing outside the ministry of interior with banners, after all the government stands to get your hard cash in transfer fees.

  • Sue says:

    They need a Maggie Thatcher over there to fight the unions, sadly there isn’t another born yet !!

  • Pippa says:

    I would only be too happy to may the transfer fee, IPT and any thing else that is legally required, just let me have the title deeds for a house have I paid for but that I do not own!

  • Dee Vickery says:

    Yes it would be nice if Transfer fees were abolished, at least we then wouldn’t be ripped-off by the Land Registry. However, they’re fairly safe in abolishing the fees because they don’t apply anyway when Title is just something you dream about!

  • John Swift says:

    Yiannos posted about construction prices being extortionate.

    At last someone who’s got it right.

    Cloud cuckoo land prices which peaked in 2008 have still not dropped to realistic prices.

    The days of smug ex-pat people sitting in the local tavernas boasting my house is now worth monopoly money are gone forever, people must get realistic if they want to sell and also if the property market is to pick up.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Rick. Is your point that these Chinese have been conned into buying what may turn out to be a white elephant? Or?? Please clarify what you meant. Thanks.

  • andyp says:

    Fairly standard modus operandi of a Cypriot organisation.

    Government, bankers, developers, lawyers, builders and trade unions. They are all the same and will only react and do something positive when in reality it is too late.

    Rabbits in the headlights!

    Their “artful ways” are now known throughout the planet yet they persist with them and they just do not get it.

    Nothing has changed and it will not until this industry in it’s present form totally collapses and all making a living from it, at the expense of others, can’t.

  • Pippa says:

    I can see nothing changing until someone with the power to change things, the courage to stand up to the unions and the audacity to actually want to do what is right gets in to a position in which things are made to happen.

    I had hoped that the recent change of president would herald a change, but I think it is same old same old.

    Is there no one who has the understanding that this country is going down hill fast and needs a strong leader and parliamentarians who are not just there for the ‘extras’?

  • Maxwell Raymond Hannah says:

    Annelie Roux is Quite Right in what she says, Time to improve the Building Standard, and OF COURSE the Title Deeds have once again not been mentioned, what will it take for them to see the obvious.

    Maxwell

  • Yiannos says:

    How about lowering construction prices ?

    They are extortionate and about twice what they need to be. I can tell you this from experience. I got quoted by 4 contractors over 500k for my house, built it myself for under 300k, using the same quality of materials and to a far better standard (I believe).

    The contractors (ergolavi) in Cyprus are con merchants. They double up on everything and expect to get rich from one customer.

  • Andrew says:

    You reap the seeds you sow and bankruptcy may be the only way to learn this lesson in Cyprus. Then again, may be not.

  • Richard says:

    @Annelie – spot on! We’ve had to re-sort damp problems in the same place on the same house now 3 times since it was ‘completed’ in 2006.

    The construction industry should work with the banks and the developers to fix up all the crappy work they’ve thrown up in the good times properly first before bleating on about what to do next – that’ll keep a few people out of the dole office!

    What they are reaping is a bitter little harvest from the uncaring excesses of the past.

    Boo hoo hoo – I feel so sorry for them….NOT!

  • Mike says:

    It is truly amazing that so called bodies of supposedly intelligent beings continually choose to ignore the obvious in the vain hope that they can continue to reap fraudulent gains from an unsuspecting public and at the same time place no responsibility of such action upon themselves in the eyes of the law which they either wrote or had a massive influence in the drafting of.

    It would appear that honour, integrity, morals, customer care / service and professionalism are totally alien concepts for other countries to follow but not for Cyprus. “As you sow, so shall ye reap”, perhaps we deserve what we get because we keep electing the same manifesto’s and as consumers refuse to argue our corner with gusto relying on foreigners to do our arguing for us. No free and unencumbered title deed at the point of sale should equal no sale. That should apply equally to resale and off plan sales so the system, which is not difficult must be put in place and activated. Then we may see an increase in sales and construction.

  • Annelie Roux says:

    Besides the obvious title deeds issue, how about improving the building standard. A simple thing such as doing proper damp proofing would go a long way in improving the quality and aesthetics of housing developments. I’m so tired of living with flaking walls and damp and mould and smelly cupboards and mouldy clothes and the respiratory problems that go with living with moulds.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    It seems that Costas Roushias has closed his eyes, put his fingers into his ears and ignored the very large elephant in the room yet again.

    The piles of elephant poo have been multiplying and getting very smelly, but self-denial and ignoring the facts seems to ward off these issues.

    Maybe if the elephant started to trample on everyone it would wake them from their stupor?

  • Jim says:

    I do not see a proposal to provide the title deeds at point of sale. That is the one thing that will benefit the construction industry the most.

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