AKEL delegation visits Ledra and Onassagorou central commercial streets
AKEL Nicosia/Kyrenia District Organisation, 25th May 2020, Nicosia
A delegation from AKEL’s Nicosia-Kyrenia District Party Committee, headed by AKEL’s Parliamentary Representative, Giorgos Loucaides, paid a visit today to the central commercial streets of Ledra and Onisagorou, where they had the opportunity to talk with representatives of the General Pancyprian Confederation of Organisations of Professionals, Craftsmen and Shopkeepers (POVEK), the Nicosia Association of Shop owners in Pedestrian Areas, as well as with shopkeepers of the area, exchanging views on the problems they face. The AKEL delegation also included Toulla Antoniou and Costas Koukos, members of the District Secretariat, as well as Betty Kousoulidou, AKEL Municipal Councilor of the Municipality of Nicosia.
The shop owners expressed their grave concern about the future of their businesses, as the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the sustainability problems they face. The loss of their incomes, combined with the cost of rents and other obligations, make it the provision of substantial state support more than necessary so that small and medium-sized enterprises can cope with these difficult conditions. The AKEL delegation was also briefed of numerous cases where property owners are demanding significant rent increases which in some cases lead to a doubling of costs for tenants.
The AKEL delegation informed about the initiatives the Party has taken towards this end since the beginning of the pandemic in support of small businesses and the self-employed both to provide cover for working people within the framework of the Ministry of Labor’s programmes, subsidise rents, but also the initiative AKEL took for the initial approval and subsequent extension of the temporary ban of evictions, which was adopted unanimously last Friday in the House of Representatives.
AKEL’s delegation also reiterated that the vast majority of businesses are over-indebted and therefore what they first and foremost need is financial support and not additional secured loans. Within this framework, the need to provide immediate support for small businesses with a total budget of at least € 250 million was stressed, an amount equivalent to the provision of the original bill for state guarantees, which in that case would cover with non-transparent procedures the interest on older loans of pro-government loyalist big debtors.
Given that the support and rescue of small and medium-sized enterprises is a necessary prerequisite for kick starting the economy, AKEL once again calls on the government to listen to the voices of despair of small businesses and to at long last focus on providing them with substantive support.
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