The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Finance Minister Scicluna discusses the economy with CHOGM volunteers

Friday, 3 July 2015, 15:55 Last update: about 10 years ago

Minister for Finance, Prof. Edward Scicluna, gave a presentation to, and answered questions from, volunteers who will be taking up duties with visiting Heads of Government and members of their delegations during the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Malta in November.

The talk, that focused on Malta’s economy and was held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, was part of a comprehensive training programme aimed at preparing the circa 350 volunteers to be able to represent the country well with the foreign delegations. The programme includes talks about what CHOGM is, security issues, protocol procedures, cultural context, history of the Maltese islands, politics and governance, and international relations.

Minister Scicluna explained Malta’s role as a small, open economy based on trade and outlined the country’s economic development since Independence. He spoke about how, departing from an economy revolving almost entirely around the presence of the British mlitary base, the island managed to build strong tourism and manufacturing industries, eventually also successfully venturing into the financial services and iGaming sectors.

Prof. Scicluna also dwelled on the great instability that has unfortunately been afflicting North Africa and the Middle East, and pointed out that Malta is proving to be the closest stable location from where certain services can be offered to people from these regions. This has motivated Malta to open its doors to a new type of tourist, who visits for medical and educational purposes. At the same time, foreign companies that do business with countries in the region are opting to move their back office and support services to Malta, as at the moment they do not feel safe to be based in unstable countries. He said that this has been possible because Malta is in a position to offer these companies the necessary support through skilled employees, high educational standards, as well as legal and regulatory structures that make the island the ideal place for such operations to be successfully set up.

Minister Scicluna said that while we are understandably all proud that our economy is faring well, we must resist the temptation to rest on our laurels and let our guard down as competition is cutthroat. Malta needs to continue to improve the quality of its services and further strengthen its workforce, inter alia by continuing to strive for stronger female participation.

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