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Troika starts eighth evaluation

The eighth evaluation of the Cyprus economic adjustment programme by the island’s troika of international lenders (IMF, EC, and ECB), which ends on 31 March 2016, will get underway today.

cyprus-troikaREPRESENTATIVES from the troika of Cyprus’ international lender are to start their eighth evaluation of the island’s economic adjustment programme today and are expected to remain on the island until 13th November.

Prior to the arrival of the troika delegation a senior official from the European Commission told the Cyprus News Agency that the pace of reforms had slowed down significantly.

Speaking to StockWatch Finance Minister Harris Georgiades stressed that “I do not expect even the process of the last assessment and the Memorandum will be completed, without the adoption by the legislature of the bill on the sale of loans.”

The bill should have been approved by the end of last September. It is anticipated that the Financial and Budgetary Affairs Committee will give the bill the green light on Monday and schedule a date for its discussion and approval at a plenary session of the house.

Legislation on the sale of loans is seen as vital to reducing non-performing loans (NPLs) by enabling loans to be sold to third parties in compliance with the EU’s four basic freedoms. However, there is a fear in Cyprus that this would result in the sale of defaulting mortgages and large swathes of property would fall into foreign hands, which would have political implications.

Other critical issues under review include the bills concerning the reform of the public sector, loan securitisation, the resolution of the ex Laiki Bank, the implementation of the National Health Scheme (delayed until 2017), the privatisation of the Cyprus Telecommunication Authority (CYTA) and the separation of the Electricity Authority’s (EAC) activities.

On property issues, the implementation of the new Immovable Property Tax (IPT) using revised property values has been deferred until 2016 as a result of delays in its discussion by parliament. The European Commission has noted that “This points to high risks for the implementation of the IPT reform.”

Furthermore legislation specifying the frequency of mandatory updates of cadastral property values, which should have been adopted by mid-October 2015, has yet to be implemented.

Other outstanding property-related issues include:

  • legal or contractual standards for property sales contracts and connected loan and mortgage arrangements (which should have been in place by last October).
  • a mandatory escrow account system to ensure that all payments related to a property transaction are processed in a safe manner to provide safeguards against abuse (end of last September).

It looks as if the troika delegation is going to be kept very busy!

Readers' comments

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  • Aggis Demetriou says:

    Starve your people, excellent coup for reunification ……

  • Steve R says:

    It’s an easy way out for the banks to sell off the existing NPLs. If you have a loan on your books standing at 10k it would probably cost you 5K to recover the same loan. Sell the 10K loan to a third party for 7.5K and the overall loss is 2.5K instead of 5K loss by trying to recover it yourself.

    The third party companies are far more ruthless than the banks are allowed to be.

    Anybody that has refused to pay their loan as a matter of principle or think they have a claim of mis-selling will have a rude awakening if the loan gets sold on.

  • Steve says:

    It is interesting to speculate on the origin of the “foreign hands” into which large swathes of property might fall if the sale of loans took place. Maybe it’s the Russians? Or the Chinese? English? Continental Europeans? No, all of these are welcome to have as much Cyprus property as they can swallow.

    Pssst. It’s the Turks! We are all cringing in our beds in fear of a Turkish property invasion. Do me a favour! Small wonder the island is in such a state when its leaders are so paranoid. Soon they will really have something to cause insomnia, because President Obama needs the Turks to fight on the Syrian front and the EU needs the Turks to stem the flow of migrants through Turkey into Germany. The price they are going to pay is Turkish membership of the EU. I am looking forward to seeing Cypriot politicians frothing at the mouth.

  • Deanna says:

    Oh dear, why does it always take a troikan kick up-the-proverbial before anything gets moving?
    ….. I don’t know why I said that, cos we all know why.

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