The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Mastering the right balance

Silvio Schembri Sunday, 2 August 2020, 08:25 Last update: about 7 days ago

The key to success in every aspect of life remains the attainment of balance; quite an elusive concept, but one which ensures that life goes on without too many negative repercussions.

In these unprecedented circumstances, retaining balance has been, to put it mildly, a difficult juggling act, especially for those of us who are appointed to navigate a whole country through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been a much easier decision to simply batten down the hatches and sit tight until this calamity goes away.

ADVERTISEMENT

As a government we  strive to find the right balance between ensuring the health and safety of our nation, while still generating valuable economic activity to sustain our robust public services, including the all-important health care.  We have to face the situation with a sense of maturity. From the very beginning of the pandemic, this government demonstrated its capability in taking decisions which bear results. Common sense dictates that we continue taking the appropriate decisions in both health and economic sectors. As a government, we shall keep on relying on facts as put forward to us by the competent authorities and proceed in as balanced a manner as possible.

As we move slowly but surely towards normality, we must bear in mind that personal responsibility remains the difference between our collective safety or otherwise. Malta is not a nanny state and therefore it is up to every one of us to remain vigilant, adhere to official advice and take all the necessary precautions to safeguard our population’s health.

As a government, I truly believe that we have unfailingly shouldered our responsibilities throughout; not only by enforcing all the necessary restrictions in a timely manner, but also ensuring that our economy keeps moving forward with relative momentum, not only for the short-term, but through intensive studies also for the long-term.

These were not necessarily the easiest decisions to make, but with vision and not a little goodwill, I believe that we have attained a good balance between combating the physical fallout of the pandemic and regenerating economic activity for all. Through our decisions in the past months, we have managed to not only relatively keep COVID-19 numbers down, but through intense measures, also sustain our businesses, our workforce and by extension our families. 

It is therefore remarkably satisfying to note that according to the latest data, our country has registered a decrease in unemployment in June, a 3% fall from May’s numbers.  To put this in perspective, it should be stated that the levels recorded throughout June were much lower than the highest that Malta has had since joining the European Union.

It should also be recognised that the decrease in the number of unemployed individuals has ensued after the Covid-19 Economic Regeneration Plan was announced on June 8, with government spending reaching €900 million as it allocated numerous funds to businesses and families.

It is now only through our resilience as a nation that we can look forward to better days. However, this remains a developing situation and if we want to continue on our path of progress and success, we must proceed with the utmost caution. Let us all benefit from the €44 million injection into our economy to stimulate activity for all through the use of the €100 voucher whilst keeping in mind that a sense of prudence will safeguard ourselves and our families and the rest of our countrymen.

Ultimately, it remains up to each and every one of us to responsibly move forward, not by isolating ourselves in the hope that this will go away but neither by jumping in at the deep end as if this is simply a fleeting inconvenience. It is by achieving the right balance, that of remaining vigilant while continuing with our everyday life can we move forward together as a nation on this unprecedented journey.

Therefore, with this in mind, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer. 

 

Silvio Schembri  is Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses

 

 

  • don't miss