The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Indepth: Lack of permanent link meant only 0.04% of FDI in Gozo - Franco Mercieca

INDEPTH online Friday, 12 April 2019, 09:42 Last update: about 6 days ago

A lack of a permanent link between Malta and Gozo has led to only €5 million of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Gozo - only 0.04% of the total when taking into consideration the €12 billion in Malta, Franco Mercieca explained.

This week on Indepth, News Editor of The Malta Independent Neil Camilleri spoke with the Chairman of the Malta-Gozo tunnel steering committee Franco Mercieca on the aforementioned tunnel project between Malta and Gozo.

Merceica explained that there are both regional and national reasons for the construction of a permanent link between the islands.

Nationally, he noted how with 8% of the total population living in Gozo there was only 5% of wealth being produced, pointing towards the fact that Gozo is a burden on the national economy.

Regionally, Gozo's economy depends on the public sector, which Mercieca clarified is due to the issues when it comes to the aforementioned lack of investment from the private sector.

This also attributes to a shrinking population in Gozo.

The evidence shows that the population of children in schools has decreased dramatically of 40% (approximately 2,400 to 1,200) in the last 14 years, he said, going on to compare it to Malta where the decrease was of 20%.

It also absorbs less graduates than it creates due to the lack of employment opportunities, in spite of the fact that Gozo is the region that creates the most graduates.

"We talk about Gozo losing its charm and characteristics - the main characteristic in Gozo is the Gozitans themselves!"

Mercieca also spoke about the fact that Gozitans have to choose between parenting and work. He said that comments given by respondents to a social impact assessment exercise carried out in the run up for the tendering process for the Gozo Tunnel project gave an insight into how a lack of a permanent link is forcing a number of parents to choose between working in Malta and spending time with their respective families in Gozo.


 

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