The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

‘Maltese economy withstood pandemic test’ - Robert Abela

Friday, 22 October 2021, 15:59 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Maltese economy withstood the test of the pandemic and came out stronger than before, Prime Minister Robert Abela said.

Addressing the EY conference Future Realised, Abela spoke about the issues Maltese businesses faced because of the pandemic.

“Tackling the issues businesses faced is important. I enjoy encouraging debate with businesses and keeping my ear to the ground in order to effectively implement policies and measures that make a difference.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Dialogue enables us to move forward as a country, Abela said, mentioning the impacts of the pandemic. “Transport of goods was greatly affected and with an open economy like that of Malta, the effects could have been devastating.”

Although Malta was predicted to have an increased unemployment rate coming out of the pandemic, Abela said that “our economy not only withstood the test of the pandemic but we are one of the front runners in the global recovery”.

“In Malta this year, throughout the second quarter, Malta’s economy recorded the highest ever growth rate and largest ever investment,” he said.

He explained how this was achieved through discussions with stakeholders and implementing policies and measures at the right time. Through this, Malta was one of a few countries whose employment rate increased while the risk of exclusion and poverty rate went down.

Abela then touched on the topic of the wage supplement which was vital in breaking the “cycle of redundancy.”

“By the government covering more than the minimum wage of employees in a time of crisis, we prevented the lowest income employees from being fired.”

Abela also revealed that Malta Enterprise has also approved the highest amount in new projects for local businesses. This amounts to €140 million which has generated nearly 2000 more jobs in the Maltese market.

This, together with a record in foreign asset investment of around €4.6 billion, was vital in Malta recovering from the pandemic stronger.

Abela said that the investment in the work place has not only stopped there. As revealed in the Budget 2022, further incentives are there for businesses who contribute towards a greener economy.

“The 2030 and 2050 carbon neutrality deadlines are backed fully by the government through policies and measures.”

During his speech Abela also confirmed that efforts are being made by the government in accordance to the FATF action plan. “This together with four credit rating agencies giving us an A rating gives us credibility in our work,” Abela said.

Pushing young people further away, will only result in a brain drain, PN says

Addressing the same event, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said considering that Malta already faces a shortage of talent and skills, pushing our young people further away, will only result in a lack of talent.

“Youths are important for Malta as it depends on their contribution on pensions, debt and businesses who also depend on talent,” Grech said.

In a pre-recorded message, Grech said that the recent survey revealed worry statistics, especially when speaking in terms of the future.

The most alarming figure is that more that 60%  of generation-Z and millennials would rather move abroad elsewhere in Europe than stay in Malta, Grech said.

Grech noted a stark difference in wanting to explore other countries and being forced to leave the country you live in, simply because it failed you.

He highlighted that “in recent years, the Nationalist Party has warned that if our country and its reputation are jeopardised, the gains experienced will not only be short-term but will be disastrous. Ignoring good governance is also something that cannot be done for this country to move forward.” 

Grech emphasised that it is time to map out a new future for this country. Ever since Malta was put on the FATF grey list, the country has suffered.

“The PN is working tirelessly on addressing this issue. I presented a revised budget with aims at tackling the key issues of our society.

“We cannot fall behind. Although it is important to attract businesses and people to Malta, we must first prioritise attracting our youths by giving them opportunities so that they do not leave the country due to the lack of future they see in Malta,” Grech said.

 

  • don't miss