“The underpinning message of The Malta Chamber ahead of the announcement of next year’s Budget, is in support of a vision of ‘A Smart Sustainable Island’ that seeks an honest reality check of the true effects of COVID while benefitting from associated lessons learnt and, hence, increase economic growth while enhancing the quality of life of the people,” President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry David Xuereb says, adding that “this is the true ambition.”

To this end, and in its recommendations to Government, The Malta Chamber is “advocating the implementation of effective growth-enhancing measures that are conducive towards the country’s sustainability goals and the physical and mental well-being of our people.”

For, Budget 2021 is “even more critical than any other budget we have had before”, he continues, since it is required to focus priorities on both “the recovery of our damaged economy” and on the stimulation of re-invention, to “entice a vision-driven re-investment.”

Within this context, The Malta Chamber has outlined myriad calls to action to Government, which were formulated following the establishment of a think tank and roundtables with the organisation’s members.

These “propose solid policy recommendations to the movers and shakers of the country for a better and more resilient Maltese economy and inhabitants of tomorrow,” he explains. Elaborating, Perit Xuereb says that good governance and the rule of law remain key underlying principles.

“The country needs to leave no stone unturned to have the proper infrastructure in place and stakeholders need to ensure that they have the right people, procedures and processes to guarantee good governance and benefit from sustainable business development through these underlying principles,” he insists.

Moreover, the efficient and effective use of national resources is also central to a strong recovery, he says, adding that “Government, national stakeholders and private enterprise need to put sustainable development goals at the centre of their strategies if we hope to achieve the ambitious objectives we have set ourselves.”

These ambitions can be achieved, however, by also ensuring “a strong business backbone in infrastructure” which, The Malta Chamber President asserts, enables resilience in our economic development.

Thus, investment is required to develop “the best business development ecosystem our country deserves” and The Malta Chamber “encourages Government to plan and prioritise” such investment.

With regards to lessons amplified during the pandemic, Perit Xuereb points to the fundamental need for digitalisation and innovation, which he describes as “powerful enablers for the economy”, saying that there needs to be an increased focus on the potentialities of big data and how this can contribute towards economic buoyancy.

Finally, “all this must be driven by intense and focused development of talent and human capital,” the President continues.

“In most sectors, demand for skills is becoming increasingly specialised and more sophisticated while soft skills and emotional intelligence are ever so appreciated and necessary.” This is particularly the case since work practices and the gig economy are expected to change the current employment landscape.

As a result, he concludes, “closer collaboration is required by all stakeholders to invest in schemes of excellence driven by the best-case studies that the world has experienced. We should aim for no less.”

This is an extract of a feature first carried in the September edition of the Commercial Courier

Main Image:

David Xuereb - President of The Malta Chamber / Photo by Justin Mizzi 

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