The Hellenic Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed on Monday, in Nicosia, an agreement for the amount of €66.7 million, which will in turn be used as loans granted to small and medium size enterprises with favourable terms.
Addressing the event EIB President Werner Hoyer said that in the past five years the EIB`s financing to priority investments in Cyprus amounts to €1,3 billion.
In 2016 the EIB`s exposure to Cyprus amounted to €240 million or 1.5% of its GDP, the highest percentage of all member-states, he added.
According to Hoyer, “under the scheme in 24 months we have signed €615 million with ten banks and more than €220 million have already been allocated to the private sector to promote more than 214 investments in key areas.”
He said he was encouraged by the market demand over these loans.
At the beginning, the European banker noted, the take up of the market was relatively slow, adding that “now it has skyrocketed and is going extremely fast and we are happy with this.”
At the same time he assured that EIB is “resolved to expand our activities in the tourism sector in the years to come so that might be good news for Cyprus as well.”
The Cyprus economy, Hoyer said, has been showing positive signs, no doubt a testament to the hard work and resolve of the Cypriot people during the long years of suffering and the successful measures taken by the Finance Ministry.
Challenges still lie ahead, he noted, assuring that the EU bank will continue supporting worthwhile investments that can help bring back growth and further improve the economic situation of Cyprus.
On her part Hellenic Bank Chairwoman Irena Georgiadou said in her address that the Cyprus economy has returned into a path of stability and sustainable growth.
For Hellenic Bank, she added, the support of the economy and responsible lending to businesses remains a priority particularly the funding of small and medium sized enterprises which have traditionally has been the backbone of our economy.
Since 2014, Georgiadou noted, the total financing in the economy by Hellenic Bank through the attractive schemes with the EIB reached €100 million which were successfully lent to 109 SMEs in Cyprus.
Christos Patsalides, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, said that “Cyprus has come a long way compared with where we have been.”
“Achieving fiscal consolidation and financial stability and having undertaken significant structure reforms,” he added.
At the same time he pointed out that “we fully acknowledge that this is not the end of the road and I would like tο underline that Cyprus is absolutely and firmly committed to continue the prudent macroeconomic policy and structural reform agenda in order to return to sustainable long term growth path.”