The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Towards sustained economic growth

Edward Zammit Lewis Sunday, 15 December 2013, 09:06 Last update: about 7 years ago

From the provisional estimates provided by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Malta climbed by 1.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2013. Malta’s GDP is influenced by a variety of business sectors, such as remote gaming, ICT and shipping that also contributed to this pleasant increase.

The remote gaming industry in Malta also affects the GDP. This is a multi-million euro business for Malta. Hundreds of licences have been issued, and thousands of jobs depend on it.

Malta is strategically positioned to attract remote gaming companies and it is our intention to maximize on our attractiveness in this sector. Having said that, we are fully aware that previous achievements in this sector are not essentially a guarantee for its future success. This is why we intend to embark on new strategic initiatives to boost this sector and take it to the next level. We want to maintain our competitive edge and keep on differentiating ourselves from other competing jurisdictions.

We want to be proactive, continuously seeking ways to ensure a level playing field for all the licensed players in the industry. I strongly believe that our sound regulatory environment is a critical success factor in attracting new players and investors.

The growth of the Maltese ICT industry has taken place largely as a result of a need to service local enterprises, with a number of IT companies exporting their products and services to foreign markets. Much of this took place through the packaging and integration of proprietary software and hardware products either with locally developed software or with other value added services such as consultancy, hosting, maintenance and other adjacent services. A strong ICT backbone has also allowed us to have the necessary infrastructure and skills to grow the iGaming industry.

We are also working on the Fibre To The Home nationwide project, a project that will surely have very positive effects on the iGaming and ICT industries in Malta. We are planning to strengthen our educational system to cater better for the needs of the ICT and iGaming sectors. Our plan is to create a strong cluster of ICT and iGaming professionals.

Malta has always placed the Blue Economy high on its agenda. The recent initiatives taken up by the European Commission have given the political impetus to work both at EU and national policymaking levels in order to further stimulate growth in this area, with particular focus on the competitiveness of the marine and maritime sector. Adopting an integrated maritime policy for Malta will provide new momentum for growth in the marine and maritime sectors and would aim at ensuring that all key players work together in an efficient and effective manner. There is an urgent need to instil a culture of integrated actions and integrated policy development, which must become the norm moving forward.

This Government is giving enormous importance to this sector to ensure its expansion. For the first time, €240,000 is being allocated primarily for its promotion.

Apart from the above business sectors, the government has launched a number of programmes which also contribute positively to the GDP. We received very positive feedback from the Global Residence Programme that we launched last June. The programme has helped revitalize the property sector by increasing property purchases in our country, especially that of a certain value, allowing the country to increase tax revenue, and increasing all related and complementary work activities.

The Global Residence Programme replaced the scheme introduced by the previous government but subsequently suspended. This new programme has surely introduced more certainty in this field and simplifies the whole process that existed until today. This new residence programme also incentivizes further those who seek to invest in the south of Malta and in Gozo.

This initiative effectively reduces the thresholds for the purchase of immovable property and even renting a property in Malta by foreigners who wish to buy property in our country. The tax threshold was also lowered to €15,000. The bond amount of the previous scheme amounting to €500,000 was also removed.

The Government has fully supported this scheme with the necessary infrastructure. The procedures that operate this programme are not bureaucratic and create the least possible disruption to applicants who want to invest, and pay taxes, in our country.

Our objective is to have Malta as an economic investment point. We are looking to continue boosting the Gross Domestic Product and the plan is to attract more investment to our country. This will lead to more quality jobs, a more dynamic and efficient infrastructure, more digital literate people and a connected and competitive country. We have an innovative mindset and are seeking to create new projects and exploring new niches to expand.

We will continue to engage the private sector and interested stakeholders to develop initiatives for the best interest of our country’s competitiveness.

 

Dr Zammit Lewis is the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth

[email protected]

 
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