The Malta Independent 14 July 2024, Sunday
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Chamber of Commerce expresses fears for 'country's reputation on transparency, integrity'

Helena Grech Monday, 27 February 2017, 11:01 Last update: about 8 years ago

President of the Chamber of Commerce Anton Borg today expressed the business community's concern that Malta is "regressing on an important non-cost element of competitiveness'", referring to reputational issues of transparency and the integrity of Malta's institutions.

His address was made during a chamber of commerce dialogue session with the Prime Minister. 

"As a responsible business organization, the Malta chamber is duty-bound to voice it's opinion on this matter because it impinges on our members' economic interest," he said.

"Clearly, Malta's reputation has suffered as could our future economic success if there are any repercussions on our financial services and remote gaming sectors that collectively contribute to around one quarter of our annual GDP," he added.

Mr Borg welcomed the long awaited standards in public life Bill in order for politicians to lead the way in terms of behaviour, he said.

"Our islands need stability and confidence on the rule of law".

In his address, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that he too feared that Malta is taking its economic success for granted.

Responding to Mr Borg's fears on the country's reputation, he said that foreign investment does not go to corrupt countries, but to countries such as Malta where there are genuine opportunities to grow.

Dr Muscat spoke of Malta's 'economic miracle', how government will be footing the bill for an increase in minimum wage this year and relayed Standard & Poor's message for politicians not to interfere with the current energy policy following the next general election. Dr Muscat said 'politicians messing' with the current energy policy could bring about the economic problems Malta was facing five years ago. 

PN reacts

The strong declaration made by President of the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry Anton Borg regarding the business community’s concerns on government scandals confirm that Malta cannot go forth in the direction the Prime Minister has chosen, the Nationalist Party said in a statement issued today.

The PN said that it agrees with the statement made by Mr Borg, noted how Malta has dropped ten places on Transparency International and EY’s most recent attractiveness survey registered a drop of 15 per cent in stability and transparency.

In reaction, Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil called on the Prime Minister to lead in a more serious and honest way.  

“I promise a government that will offer serenity to businesses, and peace of mind that there will not be one scandal after another,” he said.

Photos Jonathan Borg

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