High Commissioner and Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism for Republic of Cyprus part of delegation at Scotland’s first UK Cyprus Business Forum
A delegation including Mr Euripides L Evriviades – High Commissioner for the Republic of Cyprus and Mr Yiorgos Lakkotrypis – Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism – gave a comprehensive and thought provoking presentation to over 50 chamber members.
The sun streamed in to the suite at the Balmoral and this was most fitting as one of the themes for investment opportunities in Cyprus is Tourism including harbour developments and a Hard Rock casino, hotel and entertainment complex in Limassol.
The country has worked hard since the GDP declined in 2012 and has now forecasted an impressive 2.7% GDP growth for 2016 and 2.8% for 2017. 22% increase in new business registrations in 2016 shows the focus on growth in key sectors – Professional Services, Tourism, Real Estate, Shipping, Resources (in particular oil) and work on a Science and Technology park. Whilst their stock exchange has undergone streamlining and technological improvements the performance of a fairly pedestrian 1.15% in 2016 so far, there is much work behind the scenes and financial services are finding it extremely attractive.
Perhaps the location of Cyprus will be its real asset – close proximity to 3 continents – and the Oil fields that are in process of being allocated to the major exploration companies. They have improved their compliance and regulatory structures and moved away from the ‘tax haven’ status they previously attracted. They have improved education and realise that the high level of youth unemployment (total unemployment 11.5%) is an urgent issue to address. They aim to attract inward investment which will deliver returns in Euro and within a secure financial environment. The tax regime is favourable to non Cypriots – executives earning greater than Euro100,000 will not pay more than 17% tax on that income. They have a variety of attractive schemes for non domiciled investors and indeed residency options which may become increasingly of interest to individuals looking for lifestyle countries to relocate to.
All in all it was an extremely interesting taster of what Cyprus is working hard at creating to secure their future and maximise the natural resources they have been blessed with.