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Foreign capital of €1 bn

07/03/2015 18:21
The land development sector has brought in over €1 bln of fresh capital from abroad during the last two years, the President of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association Pantelis Leptos noted on Friday.

Speaking during the Association`s Annual General Meeting, Leptos said the sector`s contribution to the overall economy continued to stand at 19% of Cyprus` GDP.

Moreover, the Minister of Interior Socratis Hasikos, who also attended the event, said that a government scheme to provide urban planning incentives was being extended for another two years, until June 2017.

In his address, the Minister said that the aim was to enhance development, in order for the country to conclude sooner the programme it has signed with its international lenders.

Hasikos also said that the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades is soon expected to make public announcements concerning the government`s intentions for the sector.

The scheme`s extension, that was approved at a Cabinet meeting last Tuesday, will give the necessary time for the implementation of a number of mature projects that were delayed, but also intends to draw fresh interest from entrepreneurs.

According to Hasikos, under the existing scheme, more than 200 applications were received, with the interest being greater at the hotel and tourism sectors.

Moreover, the Minister expressed support for the sector`s continued contribution to the country`s economic and social development, while noting government efforts to return to growth levels, similar to those of other European partners.

Hasikos noted that his Ministry was engaged in a wide-scale reform project to promote growth, part of which was of immediate concern to land developers.

From his part Leptos said that despite overall high unemployment, the levels of unemployment in the building sector were recording a downward trend.

"The land development sector, which comprises the `heavy industry` of the Cypriot economy, was once more back on track" Leptos noted.

He added that in January 2015 property sales went up by 10%, compared to the same month in 2014.

In 2013, amidst a general climate of uncertainty in Cyprus, a number of 3,767 properties were sold, of which 1,017 to foreigners, Leptos said. He added that sales went up in the following year by 20%, with foreign buyers totaling 1,193 out of 4,527 overall sales.

Leptos acknowledged the sector`s cooperation with state authorities in providing incentives to prospective foreign buyers or investors, such as permanent residence permits or citizenship and noted that cooperation must continue on a broader scale.

The event was also addressed by Christos Michaelides, the President of Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation, who noted that a lot has improved in the Cypriot economy in the last one year, but added that a more remained to materialize in order to return to market stability and growth.