After two decades of campaigning, the shipping industry in Cyprus has welcomed a bill that is poised to establish an independent Deputy Ministry of Shipping.
“This is very good news and the bill is very close to what we have been after,” said Thomas Kazakos, Director-General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber.
The Cypriot constitution limits the number of ministries to just 10 and presently the maritime portfolio comes under the Ministry of Transport Communications and Works, with the highly respected minister, Marios Demetriades, having to look after nine government departments, including shipping.
All eight political parties in Cyprus have expressed their positive support in private, according to the shipping chamber which is hopeful parliament approves the new law by the end of this year and a new Deputy Minister is installed.
The Department of Merchant Shipping in Limassol will provide the basis of the new Deputy Ministry.
Shipping is one of three areas set to get their own deputy ministry under parallel pieces of legislation, the others being tourism and development.
Shipping’s value added in Cyprus is estimated at about 7% of the island’s GDP, a prime reason it is seen as meriting its own deputy ministry.
Also, with the tonnage tax cloud still hanging over the Greek shipping cluster, there is new evidence Athens-based companies are looking to Cyprus as an alternative base.
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