Emphasis on the absorption and utilization of as many resources as possible from the European Funds said Mr. Papanastasiou
A total of 245 million euros for the new programming period until 2027 has been secured by the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry which will be allocated to businesses through targeted Grant Schemes emphasizing the absorption and utilization of as many resources as possible from the European Funds including the Recovery Fund and resilience, stated the Minister of Energy Giorgos Papanastasiou.
He was speaking at the General Electoral Assembly of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry held on Friday evening at the Attikon cultural center in Paphos, during which Giorgos Mais was re-elected president of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mr. Papanastasiou stated that these plans concern new entrepreneurship, the strengthening of competitiveness and energy saving in small and medium enterprises, the digital upgrading of enterprises, the promotion of the circular economy, the strengthening of large enterprises and the modernization or creation of units that are engaged in the processing or marketing of agricultural products.
He also announced that an additional €120 million will be granted through the Save-Upgrade Housing Scheme, again indirectly helping to boost entrepreneurship. At the same time, the Ministry continued, contributing to the effort to reduce consumer costs for energy purposes, has announced Grant Plans through the RES and EXE Fund, with a total budget exceeding 80 million euros for the years 2022-2023.
The Plans in question, said Mr. Papanastasiou, are proving extremely popular and include grants for investments in roof thermal insulation and installation of photovoltaic systems in homes, replacement of solar water heating systems, charging of electric vehicles from renewable energy sources as well as energy upgrading of buildings and TA infrastructure.
He added that the RES and EXE Fund now receives and processes more than 2,000 applications per month. From the district of Pafos, in particular, more than 1,000 homes participated in the Fund's Plans in 2022, a number that, due to the further strengthening of the incentives they offer, is expected to double this year.
Regarding the Industrial Areas and Zones of Pafos province, the Minister of Energy stated that the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry is working to solve chronic problems, among other things by promoting infrastructure modernization and upgrading projects, as well as cleaning projects in collaboration with the Local Authorities.
He particularly noted the project of the construction of the Bridge Connecting the Industrial Area of Mesogi with the Industrial Zone of Tremithousa, which they are promoting in collaboration with the Department of Public Works. The project, he announced, is expected to start in 2024 and be completed in 2025 with a total cost of 2 million euros.
Moreover, in his greeting, the re-elected president of the EBE Pafos, Giorgos Mais, stated that the stagnation in the National Issue due to Turkey's constant intransigence, with the attack of Hamas against Israel, the fluid international economic environment, the cloudy landscape regarding the in our energy sector, the signs of a slowdown in growth in 2023, the continued precision in the market and the delays in implementing institutional reforms, and in promoting digital transformation, create a difficult and complex environment for all of us.
“Faced with this peculiar situation, which causes reflection and concern, the EBEP believes that only with the close and constructive cooperation of all of us, the government, the Parliament of the productive classes and the trade union movement, we can respond to problems and difficulties”, he said.
Mr. Mais noted, among other things, that the city and the province of Paphos presented an enviable growth in 2022 and 2023, noting that the tourism sector in particular showed a very satisfactory increase, but also investments, mainly in real estate, moved, as he said , at very satisfactory levels.
He also said that Paphos has 30,000 beds of which more than 60% are in 4 and 5 star hotel units. It attracts every year about 39% of total tourist arrivals with the main references being the United Kingdom, the countries of Central Europe, Greece, Israel and with a very good perspective regarding the Scandinavian countries and emerging markets such as Poland, Austria, Baltic countries as well as Middle Eastern countries.
Paphos with increased needs
He pointed out, however, that despite the progress made in the city and province of Paphos, there are new increased needs.
As Mr. Mais noted, the contribution of the State and the competent authorities is needed for the promotion and implementation of new development projects and enriching infrastructures in the city and province of Paphos, especially in terms of upgrading and promoting our tourist product.
He spoke about the need for targeted incentives to further stimulate investments especially in the field of land development, education and health, increase the connectivity of Paphos Airport with new destinations, promote projects related to the connection of the airport road with the tourist area of Pafos and the improvement of the airport facilities.
Among other things, he mentioned the need to reduce energy costs for industry, new infrastructure projects in industrial areas and zones to improve business environment but also improving the overall image.
KEVE president Christodoulos Agastiniotis also addressed a greeting, who, among other things, referred to the new risks created both politically and economically by the situation in Israel.
Mr. Agastiniotis noted that new data are being created in the political sector which Cyprus must use calmly due to its national problem and our geostrategic position.
At the same time, he noted, in the economy it is predicted that there will be an increase in energy costs due to a rise in international oil prices which will automatically bring about a worsening of inflation. There could be an impact on arrivals and investment from Israel from the possibility of a prolonged crisis, he said.
It is noted that the General Assembly of the EBE was attended by representatives of the local authorities and agencies of the Paphos district and other officials.