The Malta Independent 4 December 2021, Saturday

Budget 2022 – The Malta our children deserve

Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

Silvio Schembri

Budget 2022 represents everything that our proud and bold nation stands for; a nation which still manages to rise up stronger, regardless of the storm. A visionary Budget with not only a generous social conscience at its core but one which drives our economy into reaching its full potential, regenerates its hard-hit sectors and ensures growth which exceeds pre-pandemic levels. While more traditional economic sectors will continue to be nurtured, fledgling economic niches must be bolstered, as these will ensure our success well into the future. Budget 2022 provides and complements our efforts towards a more robust digital economy.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of Malta's most up-and-coming digital niches is undoubtedly the video games and esports sector. In order to achieve the goals of our vision and strategy and attract international development studios to Malta, investment will be made in education, promotion, fiscal incentives (Video Game Grants) and the opening of an incubator to attract these studios to our country. We also believe that with the experience we have gained over the years in iGaming and through the new initiatives we have launched recently, Malta has the potential to become a key hub in this sector as well.

Over the past few years Malta has experienced an unprecedented growth curve throughout all its economic sectors. While this has paved the way for businesses to flourish and provided families with an excellent quality of life, this rapid progress has not come without its set of unique challenges, especially those which are environmentally-related.

Budget 2022 sets out to tackle such issues. To name just one, with the assistance of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund, Malta will also launch ship-to-shore energy for Malta Freeport, a project which will be launched from next year.

Holistic investment remains the bulwark of all future development, but for this investment to take root, the practicalities need to be provided for. Dozens of attractive incentives (of which this government has launched several) could still not provide the actual, physical space for investment to grow and flourish.

This brings us quite neatly to the momentous €470m investment which will see the thorough modernisation of our country's industrial areas. Through this massive investment, new industrial spaces will also be created, providing Malta with that "extra" competitive edge and appropriate locations to welcome new local and foreign investment.

We shall also pursue with the completion of the Ta' Qali Crafts Village, which will not only provide a modern environment for dozens of artisans after decades of neglect but will safeguard valuable craftsmanship, which is part and parcel of our traditional heritage.

Budget 2022 will also continue to build on our drive to sustain our thriving aviation industry with the expansion of a LIMA Taxiway at the airport, which intends to accommodate larger aircraft, the larger and known as wide-bodied aircraft, simultaneously expanding the range of services on offer, attracting new customers, while creating quality jobs in the aviation industry.

However, as Budget 2022 has rightly emphasised, intensive investment without providing the right skills to our workforce would defy its very purpose. As a government we will be collaborating with Maltese educational institutions to prepare students for industry-recognised certifications and careers in emerging technologies through partnerships with international companies. We shall strive to upskill and provide the necessary tools for every individual within every sector of our economy, for we believe that our workforce is the main backbone of our economy.

Budget 2022 pledges that as much as we have done during the height of a global pandemic, where we strived to safeguard businesses and the livelihood of our workers, we shall continue to relentlessly create opportunities and support valuable social mobility through numerous initiatives. The increase in stipends and pensions, the free public transport for all as well as the increase in the first-time property buyer grant, are simply a few budgetary measures in an endless list of benefits which aims to equitably distribute to all the wealth generated by our economy.

Even more importantly, Budget 2022 does not burden Maltese citizens with any new taxes, hidden or otherwise, a far cry from post-Covid Budgets presented by our peers. Malta is now reaping the fruit of the shrewd decisions taken by this government, and I for one, am immensely proud of this journey, which has seen our country thrive like at no other time in its history.

Silvio Schembri is Minister for the Economy and Industry

  • don't miss