“In a challenging moment, the industry in our country has shown more than ever its resilience, and we are determined to continue to strengthen it” – Minister Silvio Schembri
On the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Bulebel’s industrial zone, Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri announced how, in the coming months, this area in the south of Malta will benefit from an investment of more than €10 million. An investment which will lead to the creation of 100 new full-time jobs. He announced that, in the immediate future, six companies operating in the Bulebel area will be investing in new facilities, five of which will be new projects while another one will be an expansion project. This area is currently home to 80 factories which provide the livelihood of more than 3,000 families.
Minister Schembri explained that €4.9 million will launch projects in various sectors, from food production, tobacco, cross-docking, label operations to paper production. To this end, INDIS Malta has identified the allocation of 10,500 square metres of land, of which 8,900 square metres are dedicated to new projects, while 1,600 square metres are dedicated to the expansion.
“This fully complements the vision that the government has strongly embarked upon, and which ensures the efficient use of the space that the area offers. In fact, four of these projects will be developed into new multi-level facilities, i.e. on top of each other, while the other two will be allocated to existing buildings. This is paving the way for more vertical industrial buildings, which in itself will lead to attracting more higher value-added companies, which are considerably valuable for our country’s economy, such as biotech, big pharma and research, among others. An industrial activity that will generate employment. This clearly shows the robustness of the Maltese industry and its ability to remain flexible and to constantly innovate to adapt to the times. Up against such a challenging moment, it has shown more resilience than ever before, and we are determined to vigilantly safeguard this,” said Minister Schembri.
The second investment is that of €5 million, which INDIS Malta will invest in an area of 19,000 square metres in this area of Bulebel. This is a development that will lead to more accessibility for factories and better use of the space offered by this industrial area, thus attracting further new investment in our country, investment which can be launched within an adequate space. A top-level investment which, together with the affixing of traffic signs and signs, more directional signs for factories, and cleaning services that contribute to the extensive maintenance of this area, drastically improves the quality of life of both investors and workers.
The importance of recreation areas has also been given top priority. Here, Minister Schembri announced that an area of 330 square metres, which will be transformed into a recreational space for all those who make use of this industrial area, has been identified. An example of this is the Ġnien il-Ħaddiema in Bulebel, which will be located on the western side of the industrial area and will be in the vicinity of more than 20 factories. An investment of €150,000 will be made using reconstituted stone, a stone that is being produced from construction waste and which will be used in the flower base and walls. Minister Schembri noted that this garden will be equipped with CCTV cameras for the security of the area, as well as with recycling bins and a wifi installation.
“These projects and investments are not a coincidence – businesses and workers have bequeathed us with their trust, and we are reciprocating. As soon as the economic regeneration plan was announced, work was initiated in the Ministry to draw up a holistic economic vision for our country which will affect every sector, with clear proposals and goals that will result in economic recovery,” concluded Minister Schembri.
INDIS Chairman Dr Jean Pierre Attard said that, “In the framework of the industrial infrastructure investment program which we launched in recent months with an investment of €470 million, INDIS Malta will be creating more facilities which we can allocate to investors. We will do this through a more efficient use of industrial space in order for it to reach its full potential and be increasingly sustainable”. He added that roads will also be improved, and new ones will be built in a number of industrial areas, including in Bulebel, with an investment of €5 million allocated for this purpose.
Mr Brian Muscat, Chairman of Bulebel Industrial Estates Tenants (BIETA), said it was an honour and a privilege to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this industrial area. BIETA, which has been established for the last 23 years, is the association representing companies and workers working in the area. He mentioned how the main role of this association is to maintain direct contact with every company and workers, to maintain cleanliness in the area and to ensure that any suggestions and complaints for improvement are addressed. He added that the aim of this association is to continue to improve this service and to provide a voice for companies. Mr Muscat concluded his speech by saying that he welcomed the news of the creation of a leisure area as communicated by INDIS, clearly signalling that this would be an area wherein the worker could enjoy a better environment.
Andy Gatesy, CEO of Toly Products, the first factory to start operating in Bulebel, welcomed the announced investments and thanked the government for its help through the Covid Wage Supplement, which helped protect the jobs of the workers. “On our part, even though the pandemic has affected our industry, we are constantly looking to stay innovative, adapt to the future and invest in creativity and talent. Malta is at the center of our operations and I look forward to the future,” said Mr Gatesy.
For the occasion, a commemorative memorial representing five pillars – one for each decade – was unveiled, and five trees were planted, which sealed the government’s commitment to workers and industrial areas.