The Malta Independent 5 August 2020, Wednesday

Indepth: Crafts Village to be inaugurated in coming weeks – Economy Minister

INDEPTH online Friday, 7 February 2020, 08:01 Last update: about 7 months ago

The renovated Crafts Village will be inaugurated in the coming weeks, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said on Indepth this week.

Schembri also said that the government will be launching a new scheme to help hut owners with project management, seeing that some of them had fallen behind and were facing huge costs to keep up with the pace the government-part of the project had moved at.

Schembri was asked by The Malta Independent Deputy Editor-in-Chief Neil Camilleri how the project was progressing, seeing that not much has been said about the Crafts Village lately, despite the initial hype.

Schembri said that, in contrast to the Nationalist Party, which did not realise this project despite having proposed it one election after another for thirty-three years straight, the Labour in government followed through and actualised it.

He said that most of the work that the government had to do in this regard is almost done and hopefully he will be inaugurating the Crafts Village in the coming weeks.

However, he said that such progress caused an issue wherein the government has advanced more quickly than the owners of the huts did; the reason being that these individuals have always worked in their traditional fields and maybe they do not have any experience when it comes to project management.

“We understood this issue and we started a new scheme that provides each hut owner with €70,000 so that they can perform their final touches.”

Schembri went on to say that in the coming days he will be announcing a new scheme for those who are still behind in construction – “thanks to Malta Enterprises and Malta Industrial Parks Ltd (MIP) we will be making sure that we provide assistance by taking the responsibility of the project management of these huts.”

 

He noted that this was putting a lot of financial weight on them, so he will be working on an agreement that will spread out payments over a number of years rather than paying in bulk.

***

Earlier

Malta's business sector should not be placed under a bad light so that it can keep growing and, in turn, the country will too, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said on Indepth.

Schembri was asked about his thoughts on close links between big business and politics. The Malta Independent Deputy Editor-in-Chief Neil Camilleri brought up, as examples, the close ties Yorgen Fenech had with people in government, and claims by Paceville entrepreneur Luke Chetcuti that he had sought a minister's help to secure a beach concession.

Schembri said that it all boils down to how the politicians behave. "I have lost count of the number of meetings I have had with people, both on a national and international level, in the past two years and a half years. I have never faced any allegations of wrongdoing."

He explained that if everyone holds on to the mentality that business is a bad thing, or that those in government are committing a crime if they meet people in business, the nation could face another recession.

"If business moves forward, the country moves forward," he stated. "The difference is in the way you work around business, and Prime Minister Robert Abela has already made it clear that this government wants to keep working with businesses but without letting itself become ruled by business."

Schembri said that it could be that previous governments gave the impression - and in some cases it might have been justified - that certain decisions made by businesses where given a priority, even if they might have not had the nation's best interest at heart.

He said, however, that "it would be foolish for us to promote a mentality of division between us and the business sector."

He believes that the decisions which the new government has taken are an indication of how this government is listening to the people, which is a step in the right direction.


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