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South votes in amended privatisation bill

5 March 2014

The South Cyprus parliament voted yesterday to adopt an amended bill to privatise semi-governmental organisations (SGO’s). Since its first reading last week, the bill had been hotly debated but against the clock, it was voted in by 30 to 26.

Last week the privatisation bill had been rejected by 25 to 25 with 5 abstentions.

The bill outlines the legal structure which guides the privatisation process of SGO’s and nominates the relevant bodies to manage the process.

Following the banking crisis in the South, the privatisation of the SGO’s was part of the contract agreed by the current government with the EU in order to receive its 10 million euro bailout in March last year.  Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and the Cyprus Ports Authority had to be privatised by 2016 and the Cyprus Electricity Authority by 2018 to raise 1.4 billion euro in order to re-establish and support public debt repayments.

The amended bill which contains alterations to protect public workers’ rights, proposed by DIKO, the government’s former junior partner had initially been rejected but was re-submitted via an emergency process in order to meet the EU deadline of 5th March.

It was said that the EU had agreed to the amendments prior to the second voting on the bill yesterday.

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