What can we say about Closing the Year as Your Association?
In hindsight, one can only look at 2022 with a bit of cynicism. This was supposed to be a year where COVID-19 would end and there would be a semblance of normality.
Instead, we landed into the greatest geopolitical challenge that we have faced in the last decades. One that has no clear ending in sight, and which has impacted the European Union and the World at large.
We ask ourselves which was the most significant challenge our Association faced in the year 2022.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis that began in March 2022 had a profound effect on many members of the association. At a practical level, there were daily tribulations faced by member companies and their staff. Families to be redomiciled to Cyprus and rejoined with their working spouses, housing accommodation for refugees hit by the crisis, salaries to be paid to both Ukrainian and Russian sailors amid sanctions on Russian banks were the first challenges faced. The consequent sanctions further tested the operational resilience of international companies in general. The careful adoption of the sanctions required a drastic realignment of internal processes. In cases, where companies were severely affected, there were discussions on how they could potentially address the effects of these in such a manner as to at least service operational expenses for local personnel. In looking for support from the association, we helped them define the proper procedures to be followed by liaising with the Ministry of Finance and the relevant unit on Sanctions enforcement.
There were challenges in relation to the potential economic impact of sanctions. In specific cases, cooperating with other associations such as STEP Cyprus and ICPAC, we highlighted areas of risk that needed to be assessed when considering potential sanctions at a European level.
The gradual progression of the crisis brought with it a growing influx of families and working professionals. There had already been a hub of technological firms working in the financial sector. With talent being sourced from the CIS region in order to support IT programming needs there was an increasing need to relocate highly skilled workers that were impacted by the conflict. The European program for Ukrainian refugees and the relaxation of immigration procedures to support them enabled companies to relocate their staff and re-establish operations.
There are still challenges. The ongoing crisis finds us on ongoing vigilance to support our members and the international business community and this is a role that we will continue to play.
What have been our Association’s Achievements in 2022?
One cannot single out any achievement that stands out. We can only state that our role as a supporting hub is increasingly fulfilled. We continued to support our members and their staff throughout the Russia-Ukraine crisis as we did during COVID-19. And although we have seen the impact of the pandemic abate, we continue to be vigilant and update our members when required.
The Association was active at a local legislative level on a number of fronts.
The improved and more efficient process of the judicial system in Cyprus is of key importance for international companies operating in Cyprus. The Association submitted its views with the support of the legal offices of L Papaphilippou LLC on the Legislation on the Commercial and Maritime Courts.
In monitoring EU developments that could affect international companies, CIBA submitted its views as a Transparency Registry member on the EU Commission’s initiative on ‘Tax avoidance – fighting the use of shell entities and arrangements for tax purposes’. CIBA submitted a joint letter to the President of the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus and political parties with ICPAC and the Cyprus Bar Association on the potential impact of the said legislation with consequent meetings arranged. The issue is still under discussion with the Ministry of Finance.
Incentives were of utmost importance for professional specialists in various sectors so as to relocate for work to Cyprus and CIBA was a member of the legislative consultations on the Amending Taxation Bill.
Cyprus is an important hub for foreign direct investment flows and the Mechanism for Foreign Direct Investment Screening needs to be implemented as per EU regulation. CIBA has been and will continue to be involved in order to ensure an efficient and concrete screening mechanism that fosters inward direct investment. The issue is still under discussion with the Ministry of Finance under the auspices of the Cyprus Parliament in approving a final legislation in 2023.
Advising and safeguarding its members’ interests CIBA provided its feedback to the Cyprus Authorities on the potential ramifications of specific legal cases pending in European Courts pertaining to the subjects of the UBO Registry and DAC-6. We believe that our role lies in informing responsible government authorities in advance in order to take relevant remedial measures in advance.
What are the Association’s New Year Targets & Goals 2023
CIBA will continue to project the members of the international businesses on the island in 2023. Ongoing legislative initiatives that are EU-derived will necessitate our involvement and contribution and we will be involved always striving to be a constructive contributor in legislative discussions.
The Association will continue to update its members on developments that affect international business and also provide educational and networking opportunities for its members always enhancing its value proposition.
In doing the above we need your support more than ever.
What are some areas the Association will work on in 2023 to grow/develop?
In 2023, CIBA will be celebrating its 30th year anniversary. With this in mind, we are working on our plan of activities and shall update our members accordingly.
To this end, we shall invite you to our Annual General Meeting early in 2023. The meeting will be carried out in an online format.
The 30-year celebration plans will be announced in 2023 and we on all our members to celebrate with us this unique anniversary.
With this in mind, we at CIBA would like to thank you for your constant support throughout the year.
This is your Association, and we are just a phone call away.
A Happy New Year 2023 to You and Your Loved Ones From Us at CIBA!