As investors in international markets run into security “paradises”, so should Cyprus and its business world take a similar approach in the face of the uncertainty posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
We will also need to have a bigger cushion of cash, but also to seek contracts that provide us with the necessary raw materials. At the same time, we need to be able to realistically acknowledge our losses and the need for change. Of course, if we go to de-escalation in the next few days and miraculously return to normalcy, these may seem expensive to us. However, I do not dare to think what will happen if we do not take precautionary measures and if things get worse.
The budget that the Parliament voted for us last December, is already in the “bucket”. From the development philosophy we must re-enter a culture of conservation and support in the service sectors. The tourism industry is asking for measures similar to what we had last year to open, and they will not be the only ones. I know it is not easy to make these assumptions after two years of pandemic, however, as in March 2020, we must act in a timely and realistic manner. Let us not make the mistake of believing what we say about a “controlled state” and thinking that events will overtake us. From now on, the state and the companies will have to do their exercises without the rubles they expected this year and make tough decisions immediately.
The other tough decisions have to do with reforms. What we said we would change to get the 1.2 billion euros from the Recovery and Resilience Fund now looks very small. We will have to go to substantial changes that will forever leave behind the analogous era in which we are trapped. There is definitely no political mood in Parliament for such a thing, the year is pre-election and does not raise “savages”, while members of the government are counting days for retirement. If this mentality prevails, the next ones who will rule us, whoever they are, will be surprised. Those who are ambitious and able to realize this, now have to push for massive changes and limit unnecessary spending. If they leave it for the next one, he may not catch up.
Another thing we see from the big companies abroad, is that they break decades of ties with the Russian market at a great loss. I do not think it is only for moral reasons or for reasons of discipline with state decisions. Their reading of the situation is that, as the situation with Russia has evolved, they can no longer do business there. How globalization as we knew it is over. They will look for other markets, and so should we. The European market, despite the small yields, is the safest choice for us. If we want to take risks and increase returns, we have to look to Asia and Africa for opportunities. Staying hooked on the Russian market, refusing to accept and manage the new reality, will only cause us problems.
Finally, the times we live in, require us to look at the energy and food security of the country with a different flashlight. Like investors, we must invest now to secure the necessary resources. What we used to say about local production of our own agricultural products, our own renewable energy sources and production of energy from our own natural gas, now, not only is it more necessary than ever, but also because of cost, it is more economically viable than ever. One day we will have to dare. If not now, we're probably going for it.