The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

Malta’s success story

Sunday, 21 April 2019, 08:14 Last update: about 2 months ago

Malta’s economic success is attributable to the wise economic decisions that successive governments (Nationalist and Labour alike) have taken to promote Malta’s unique and special position at the outermost periphery of the European Union and closest to North Africa. 

The Gross Domestic Product of Malta, the  smallest country in Europe in  every sense, is the leading one in the European Union  (EU) when it comes to fast  growth.  The legal and financial environments (such as the taxation and financial services system) are of utmost importance and conducive to this economic growth.

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It is little wonder that so many foreigners are choosing Malta as their prime  location for doing business. The quality of life here is very good, with free health care and education amongst other benefits. Malta can also claim to be one of the most hospitable countries in the world when it comes to the  hospitality industry. As a matter of fact, the government is not finding enough nurses to cater for the influx of foreign workers.

With Brexit around the corner, we can anticipate further economic growth, as more companies will choose Malta as a very close substitute for the UK in which to conduct their business. Malta has indeed flourished to the point where it cannot go back on this success story:  if it retracts, pensions will not be sustainable in the future.

Whether or not one agrees with the sale of passports scheme, Malta was the first to introduce it and other EU  countries have followed suit. The scheme brings in revenue, but this cash for passports should not sacrifice the proper vetting of shady people for the  money they bring in to the national coffers. Cash for passports is just a one-time investment and does not have any long-term return, as these businesspeople usually register a ‘paper’ company locally. Their main aim is to use Malta to enter the EU.  Another first attributed to Malta is the avoidance of  a barrier to enter the EU imposed on PV panel imports from China.  Malta is used as a base for producing these panels at  the power station, using Chinese technology, know-how and expertise, which are subsequently exported to Europe; they are considered cheaper and more efficient than their European counterparts.

Looking at its macro-economic activity, Malta’s economy is very diversified but a balance has to be sought between the depletion of the environment and economic growth, as the large number of contractors in our urban and rural areas has spiked to unprecedented levels. Malta should put some brakes on this growth and legislate for the number of storeys to be limited to six. 

The number of petrol stations in close proximity to one another is another aspect of the cruel rampage of the environment. Why should green areas producing some of the best agricultural produce in the world, such as the Maltese ‘ħawħa’ (peach) and ‘għeneb’  (grapes) be taken up by yet another petrol station, as is the case in Burmarrad?

Economic growth and success is to be enjoyed by one and all and not only the large businesses and contracting firms who, through power and influence, are given a free hand in doing what they want, at the expense of other sections of the populace. Money and volume should, therefore, not be the only driving forces behind Malta’s success story and take precedence over other, more important, values.

 

Anthony Zarb Dimech

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