EFFORTS to push through legislation to protect primary residences took an unexpected turn today when the Parliamentary Legal Committee decided to postpone discussion of the proposed bill.
The Committee met this morning to add amendments to the bill proposed by opposition AKEL and EDEK, which were aimed at softening the ban and clarifying the procedure for the protection of primary residences.
However, after hearing objections during a bitter debate in parliament, the Committee decided to put off a planned discussion of the bill at Thursday’s plenary meeting of the House.
The Committee said the legislation was premature as the debts ombudsman and a code of behaviour to be adopted by the banks from the Cyprus Central Bank were not in place.
AKEL and EDEK said they would appeal to the House Speaker to present the bill at the plenary session of parliament for debate.
Meanwhile the Government has strongly objected to the management of the primary residence protection legislation warning that it would result in the banks refusing any new housing loans.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides told CyBC that President Anastasiades will invite the House speaker to explain that a needless panic is being created among people that a sell-off of properties is imminent. Stylianides added that the selling of primary residences is out of the question and gave an assurance that this is fully safeguarded.
Finance Minister Haris Georgiades had earlier said that the proposed law was off-hand and fragmentary and would lead to more problems for the economy.
Georgiades said that the Government was in favour of protecting primary residences under a comprehensive scheme that would benefit low-income families facing economic problems. He added that the legislation proposed by the opposition parties would result in benefitting people who, although in a position to service their loans, would take advantage of the situation by holding back from doing so.