- Company ink stamps for private companies are a total waste of time and ridiculous in a Western democracy. It’s a colonial leftover from a time when signet rings with molten wax were used by kings and other officials. It is very annoying having to do another 2-hour round trip because a director or secretary forgot to bring one to sign a mobile phone contract. I propose that the use of these ink stamps will no longer be required, regardless of what a company’s articles of association states.
- The annual €350 Registrar of Companies charge for companies will be reduced to €100. Dormant companies and charity companies will pay €50 annually.
- Pre-paying corporation tax for a small business employing fewer than 50 people on the first €10,000 profit will be exempt from a 10% penalty if paid late. Most small businesses don’t know how much profit they will make if unexpected sales materialise in December. However, interest on late payment will apply. A by-product will be to reduce the administrative burden on small businesses, save bookkeeping costs, and reduce workload for the ministry of finance.
- Private companies employing less than 50 employees with a turnover of less than €250,000 and assets of less than €500,000 will qualify for audit exemption. (In the UK these figures are £10.2m/£5.1m). This will save small and micro businesses substantial paperwork and professional fees. Companies are strongly advised to continue to use qualified accountants to undertake annual management accounts and to submit financial statements to the authorities.
- Tax-deductible expenses for hospitality will be doubled from 1% to 2% of annual turnover. This will assist our restaurant and hotel industry. The VAT on such hospitality expenses within Cyprus will be claimable.
- If government departments take more than 90 days to refund VAT or overpaid corporation tax to small businesses, they will pay a penalty and interest (subject to exceptions). Furthermore, if any government department, semi-government entity, municipality, or village are late paying a supplier for a valid invoice within 40 days (without just cause), they will pay a penalty and interest. These will initially be best-practice initiatives rather than enshrined in law.
- The business professional tax recently levied by municipalities on companies will be abolished and refunded. Municipalities that wrongfully issued undiscounted invoices to charities and dormant companies will pay a penalty for the wrongful amount they attempted to invoice and the workload it caused companies. They should have checked first, or at least sent a leaflet (electronically or via post) in English and Greek upfront explaining which companies qualified for discounts. They did not, so they must pay the consequences for their sloppiness, which resulted in administrative time for those owning dormant companies and charities.
- The administrative burden to open and run a company will be drastically reduced.
Entrepreneurship is in the Cypriot DNA worldwide. In the last 100 years, many of our relatives (including mine) moved to other countries for a better life with very little money in their pockets to improve their families’ lives. Following the disastrous 1974 Turkish invasion, our country was transformed from near bankruptcy, having lost its tourism market and 40% of its land, into a services-based economy. If everyone works together, the camaraderie of the late 70s and 80s shown by our parents and grandparents can be taken to the next level.
I want to create a nation of entrepreneurial millionaires, some of whom may become billionaires employing thousands of Cypriots. I hope a future Cypriot Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Stelios Haji-Ioannou is reading this. (Clarification: yes, I know Stelios is Cypriot.)
- Training will be provided by selected commercial partners on how to prepare business plans, cashflow forecasts, and the regulatory requirements to open and run new businesses.
- Advice will be provided by selected partners on patenting or commercialising viable ideas and IP. The best ideas will be introduced to external investors subject to conditions. The state will not risk taxpayers’ money by investing in start-ups which it cannot do under EU laws. Its role will be to provide mechanisms, training, and incubation so free enterprise flourishes.
- I will propose tax incentives so wealthy individuals, or their companies, invest in start-ups, or in established growing companies that need working capital to expand internationally.
- Subject to consultation with stakeholders including our universities, I want to better exploit and commercialise R&D, as this will create substantial employment. I also want to better commercialise technology transfer and IP to the private sector internationally. Some countries’ public universities consider all inventions to indirectly belong to universities. I want postgraduate students to share the rewards of their work, not just the university and organisation that may have given a research grant. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_transfer )
- As president I will break protocol by personally inviting senior executives from the largest VC organisations in the world (and specialised ones for advanced start-ups) to physically visit Cyprus at the state’s expense, to see our island and meet with CIPA, the trade minister, our universities, the chamber of commerce, and other stakeholders from the private sector.
[Full disclosure for transparency: my companies have invested in or provided VC seed capital for various projects over the years. I know the VC industry well; however, I seek no new business as I am semi-retired. My presidential campaign is not an advertisement.]
These large VC organisations that will be invited to visit Cyprus will learn, via slick government presentations, how they will benefit by investing in Cyprus in four key ways:
- By using our highly trained and educated multilingual workforce.
- By enjoying our excellent tax rates, royalty rates, and other incentives.
- By embracing new incentives I will introduce, should they or the companies they invested in worldwide employ a minimum number of Cypriots. For example, deferred taxes and new entrepreneurial allowances.
- By partnering with our universities for technology transfer and IP.
- If elected president, I will ‘gift’ IP rights to the EU for a process and system I designed some years ago to automatically harvest late payment surcharges for commercial invoices. This will benefit many charities and the companies that were paid late, because no one bothers to collect €20 for a €1,000 invoice paid after the due date. The by-product of this system is that banks will be able to lend against real invoices with solid instant debenture security. This ‘gift to the EU’ will be conditional on Cyprus being the international administrative hub, to ensure the creation of hundreds of new jobs. More details will be provided in my final manifesto by 22 January 2023.
9.3 Job creation and new employment opportunities
As president I will:
- Assist our graduates in getting jobs. After 6 months of unemployment, a graduate may apply for free assistance via one of several approved expert state suppliers to help with CV writing and interview skills. It is my plan to eventually roll this out to everyone.
- I will invite the largest licensed employment agencies to create one nationwide hub (website) in partnership with the government which will pay for the design and coding. It will be an easy-to-use system so that anyone can confidentially upload their CV once, without charge, and select which specialised employment agencies they wish to automatically send it to (for example, hospitality work, engineers, lawyers, accountants, administrative jobs).
- Diversify the economy by investing in training to create high-skilled jobs in agri-tech, telecom, industrial sectors, biotech, DNA, and genetics research.
- Help our tourism and hospitality industry attract more visitors.
As president I will use an aggressive proactive approach to attract foreign companies
There’s already lots of documentation available why Cyprus is a great place to open international offices, which is all well and good. Doing trade shows and sending trade delegations is fine, but from 2023 I will take this to the next level.
Trade and investment promotion
I will allocate a substantial additional budget toward promoting Cyprus and hiring aggressive salespersons to get the message across so multinationals relocate here and create real jobs rather than plastic international tax-saving companies of little substance with only 3 part-time employees.
Part of this new budget will be for digital advertising. Glossy brochures are so 90s. These advertising campaigns will be designed by specialist suppliers after consultation with stakeholders such as the ministries of tourism, health, commerce, and the private sector. Examples of my initially very roughly written impact messages:
Each of the above digital adverts will link to more information with agents on standby via online chat 24×7 and phone support 0800-2000 to service calls worldwide.
9.4 The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE)
As president, I will commission studies with the CSE, CySEC, and other regulators to expand the CSE’s role and influence. I want to know how Cyprus can become a state-backed trading centre and custodian of wallets for digital currencies (subject to strict AML regulations).
My vision includes the CSE eventually becoming the hub of a pan-European regulated ‘mini’ exchange to compete with London’s AIM by 2030. It must have shared platforms (not just Athens) and access to major capital markets. I want established businesses to eventually list on the CSE as it will be just as regulated but less expensive than AIM. And for new Cyprus companies, my manifesto initiatives help incubate to eventually list on the CSE and create overnight millionaire founding shareholders.
I hope a Cypriot teenager who started university for the first time a few weeks ago remembers today. The day they read my manifesto for the first time. And again in the 2030s when they become a billionaire after their engineering or technology idea becomes a global commercial success.
I also want Cyprus to become a one-stop-shop services marketplace for energy’s transition to green alternatives. [Conflict of interest statement in full transparency: I own potentially valuable IP to make this happen. It is currently going through the next round of funding. Subject to conditions, I will be prepared to give indirect free equity to the state, subject to this gift not being squandered by future governments]. More details will be provided in my final manifesto by 22 January 2023. Register to get a copy]
Finally, I want the CSE to be ready if my radical approach to the Cyprus problem results in a settlement which includes a new ‘Varosha Garden City’ built from scratch. All Cypriots will be equity holders, and the CSE can be the platform on which they can sell their shares or buy more. Imagine owning free shares in a mini version of Dubai before it is built.0