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Investment prospects gain momentum

12/09/2017 15:12
The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) presented on Tuesday the island’s major investment opportunities as economic growth is gathering pace four years after the 2013 financial crisis.

“The Cyprus economy is currently growing at a rate of 3.5% of the GDP per year, much higher than the EU average, and the outlook remains positive,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told the 2nd Cyprus International Investment Summit taking place in the coastal town of Limassol, attracting more than 150 investors from across the globe.

He however assured that “we are not becoming complacent and fully realise that there is more to be done.”

“And likewise, our commitment to continue working for a stable, business friendly economic environment remains equally strong,” he stressed.

Addressing the Summit, Georgiades noted “there is no doubt that Cyprus is a welcoming and safe place to spend a holiday, but also an excellent place to live, to buy a holiday house, to send the children to school, to enjoy retirement,” adding that Cyprus “is also an excellent place to do business.”

Recalling that the island “has a very well developed financial and business services sector,” Georgiades said Cyprus is making strides in the direction of developing into an investment fund management centre and it is the largest ship management centre in the EU.

He also noted that there are other significant sectors including education and health and of course energy.

The Finance Minister stressed that even during the crisis years when Cyprus was under an IMF/EU programme, the government did not raise any new taxes, maintaining the current corporate tax at 12.5%, with new incentives being introduced, such as a notional interest deduction for new equity in any Cypriot company, a tax break for innovative companies, and an attractive non-domicile tax framework.

“The economic policy has been focused on supporting the private sector and in doing so, facilitating the creation of conditions which will result in new opportunities, new business and new jobs,” he concluded.

Michalis Sofocleous, Director of the Office of the President of Republic, said that since 2015 when this Summit was first introduced, Cyprus has made remarkable progress, both in terms of modernisation and simplification of administrative procedures, and also in terms of economic performance.

“It is an established and acknowledged fact that our government’s approach is to maintain sound public finances, preserve a stable and competitive tax regime, and provide incentives for new business and investments,” he said.

CIPA Chairman Christodoulos Angastiniotis said that in 2016 the Cyprus economy recorded a notable 9.1% rise in FDI inflow compared to the previous year, which was the second largest increase at an EU level on a backdrop of a 2.8% GDP growth.

He added that in the second quarter of 2017, the Cyprus GDP grew by 3.5%, “as a consequence of highly improved economic climate and revived investment interest.”

“You, more than anyone else, know that timing is a determining factor when it comes to investing,” he said and went on: “Back in 2015, during the first International Investors Summit, we tried to convey the message that it was the time to invest in Cyprus and be part of what we saw becoming a success story of economic recovery. Having been proven right, today we stand before you and reassure you that now is the right time to invest in the country’s strong growth potentials. Not only in the sectors of Property, Real Estate and Leisure, but in all of the economy’s promising industries”.

Natasa Pilides, CIPA Director-General and the Summit Chairperson, referred to the nine compelling reasons for investors to choose Cyprus.

She highlighted the economic growth marking the Cypriot economy, noting that the outlook remains positive with a GDP growth of 3% expected to continue over the outlook horizon.

Inter alia, Pilides referred to Cyprus’ favourable tax regime featuring a 12.5% corporate tax with tax incentives for individual investors and companies “across the board.”

She also referred to the island’s young workforce, 55% of which has a tertiary degree, the access to the EU due to Cyprus’ EU and eurozone member status, as well as Cyprus’ strong business support services with more than 700 accounting firms, more than 2,700 lawyers and 160 law firms, and the high availability of modern affordable office space in all cities.

Pilides also highlighted Cyprus’ low cost of doing business, such as low labour cost, low cost for technical and professional talents compared to other EU capitals, highly affordable critical business support services, and one of the lowest office rentals in Europe.