Over the last months our country and its economy have taken a turn for the better. Such developments did not happen because of a simple change of faces at the top. This change is taking place because the new political leadership of the country has recognized that our people and our entrepreneurs have got what it takes to take Malta to new strengths.
The Prime Minister recently spoke about turning Malta into a new Dubai or into a new Singapore. This produced different reactions, however most agreed upon the need for our country to embark onto a new project, a new aim to attain. This administration has recognized our nations true potential and wants to engage Maltese in revolutionizing the aspirations that we have for our island state.
We shall not just settle into being the small European state with the commendable economic performance. Malta has bigger aspirations; our country has the potential of becoming a success to be emulated by other small island states globally. We, as a nation and as a people have the capacity and the capability to achieve this.
But what is the road to such achievement, what do we need to capitalize on, what needs to be changed?
If we were to look at the attributes that made Singapore and Dubai the successful economies that they are today we can identify certain patterns.
Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the most business-friendly, innovative, free and competitive economies. The Corruption Perceptions Index, ranks Singapore consistently as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with the Scandinavian counties and New Zealand. The 2013 Index of Economic freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world, surpassed only by Hong Kong.
Dubai on the other hand is a hub for service industries such as information technology and finance, with industry-specific free zones throughout the city. These include the Dubai Internet City and the Dubai Media city, developments spearheaded by TECOM Investments that is the same company behind our own Smart City Malta in Kalkara.
Innovation, internal competition, attractive tax regimes, solid infrastructure, and exclusive developments: Malta has already secured some of these attributes over the past decades with sterling work done by different governments. The new Labour administration has its eyes set on expanding the kind of climate, which will attract successful enterprises and individuals to our shores.
This has been made clear via initiatives the likes of the Individual Investor Programme and the recently launched call for expressions for the derelict White Rocks which is to become a tourist resort of the highest standard.
It is also clear that this administration wants Malta to act as a regional energy hub, something which stands out from the European Council discourse every time Europe’s leaders meet in Brussels and which would see Malta connecting African energy resources to the continent. Solid work is also being done to better our infrastructure, tackle corruption, to enhance our workforce with initiatives to eradicate illiteracy, increase female participation and diversify the academic qualification and skill sets of the next generation of Maltese employees.
All this will be happening while for the first time in decades Malta has ventured into oil exploration. However the Prime Minister has been on record saying that if this oil initiative turns out to be fruitful it would only be the cherry on the cake as the current political project does not base itself on oil finds.
The European Commission in its country-specific report on Malta published in June has also said that the economic outlook for the country is better than the EU and euro area averages, meaning that economically we are on the right track. We are addressing our country’s deficit and debt; there is a renewed confidence amongst consumers and entrepreneurs also due to the imminent cut on utility bills for business.
However we need to continue building a system and an infrastructure that can support such ambitious future developments. We need to have the best venues, cutting edge services and offer the best type of employee. That is where the collaboration and contribution of our entrepreneurs and our business community will become crucial.
As a new MEP I will be having regular meetings with our main social partners in order to represent our national and commercial interests in the best way possible in Brussels and Strasbourg. I will also give my utmost in acting as a facilitator in accessing all the possible help and assistance that is already available for our entrepreneurs, be it financial help, the establishing of contacts and the accessibility to good practice.
With a vision towards excellence, by tapping all the help which is readily available for as a EU member state and with the spark of the Maltese entrepreneurs and brilliant workforce, I truly believe that the best for this country, our economy and our people is yet to come.