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Punctuality, pandemic and sanctions “suffocated” businesses in LimassolSixty years of life and activity are completed this year for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Limassol (EBEL) and its president, Andreas Tsouloftas, opens his papers to “F” and talks about the challenges that the businesses and entrepreneurs of Limassol face due to the ongoing increases, inflation, the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Among other things, he points out that Limassol received the biggest blow from the rest of the provinces due to the sanctions against Russia and the flight of Russian oligarchs, while at the moment the city is facing another problem: The lack of building infrastructure to cover office companies.
Despite the flight of dozens of Russian companies due to the sanctions imposed, the descent of new companies, mainly Ukrainian, balanced the existing situation to some extent and kept the construction industry alive. At the same time, it is noted that the future belongs to the sectors of digital technology and the sector of technological services, while the State should immediately provide new additional incentives, mainly the building factor.
Effects on the Cypriot economy from the war EBEL welcomes the Government's intention to support the tourism industry
In the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Limassol, more than 700 companies are represented and registered, such as large companies and historical members who support and support each other from this institution. The Chamber's contribution to the city, as Mr. Tsouloftas emphasizes, is multidimensional, underlining that in addition to business events, the purpose of the Chamber is the collective interest of the city's businesses, the local economy, employment and the projects that are planned and are implemented in the city.
According to the latest EBEL business barometer, businesses have detected some uncertainty about the future, mainly in relation to the developments of the war and the banking system. “They feel an anxiety as we don't know what will dawn on us tomorrow. But we all hope that with the final end of the pandemic and the war, we have the guarantees and the strength to cover all the damage of the previous two years”. p>
“Unfortunately, some companies, including Cypriot ones, have closed. These are businesses that could not withstand the pressure of the pandemic. Some have suffered and are still suffering. We hope that they will find their “feet”, notes Mr. Tsouloftas, adding that some others who had collateral were kept alive due to the support they received from the State and also from loans they took which were low interest.
As he explained, with the war in Ukraine and the measures that were imposed, mainly Russians were affected with the result that this directly and indirectly affected Limassol, however not to an irreparable extent. “The Cypriot market, especially Limassol, was affected, as were the construction industry and developers,” says the president of EVEL, referring to the fact that during the first month of the war, Limassol's market, mainly in the real estate sector, was drastically reduced to and dramatically. In addition to the war, the construction industry is faced with another blow in the rising prices of building iron and lumber.
“Demand had reached zero, but in the last two months according to the data we have, some sales have taken place.” He even claimed that Limassol has lost the Russian market completely, as in addition to the measures imposed and the exclusion of Russians, especially those listed, the rest of the Russians were also indirectly affected as they could not export funds. He even criticized the rigor of the banking institutions, saying that “due to the strict controls and sanctions, the banks have gone to the other extreme, showing great rigor in terms of deposit control procedures and also the route of money, especially if it is Russians ».
The flight of Russians for luxury hotels
“Several Russian companies that were active in Limassol left and found a new home in Dubai.” According to Mr. Tsouloftas, Limassol has lost a large portion of reputable Russian businessmen who were handling large funds and also spending much more money. Indicative of the current situation is the problem recorded today mainly in luxury hotels as reservations reach 50% compared to previous years and this is due to the fact that the Russians who stayed in them left Cyprus. He also emphasized that the per capita spending is very limited compared to the Russians.
“The descent of the Ukrainians covered part of the loss as a large number of citizens or workers had to immediately secure a place to live and work. The positive thing is that all available apartments and offices in Limassol were covered. This is also one of the reasons why this increase in rental prices is due to the high demand.” He even added that this movement in the real estate and rental market created a chain movement in the market, noting however that they are not of the same economic level as they are middle classes of businesses.
He further explained that due to the high demand at the moment there is a lack of large building spaces to meet the needs of companies for large organizations. “There are no available buildings and properties with results for some of these companies to be housed in Paphos and in the province of Famagusta, even in small hotels, until available buildings are identified in Limassol”.
In the city of Limassol they were hosted more than 40 thousand Russian-speaking citizens, with the President of EVEL stating that with the outbreak of the war, the concerns of the agencies were intense and great for the flight of several businesses. “Certainly the background or even the structure has changed in some Russian companies, however, they have remained, such as IT services, for example. He also claimed that the industry most affected by the war and the sanctions are the large audit and law firms, as companies that left large capital in the country's economy left. Mr. Tsouloftas brought as an example some large auditing firms based in America, which imposed in-house restrictions on any Russian company.