Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister Silvio Schembri affirm that now is the time to work together for a prosperous economy for all
Five economic pillars which showcase a nation’s courage, compassion, and achievements and lead to discussions with society and business for the next decade
Today, the Government launched the consultation process of Malta’s Economic Vision 2021-2031 focusing on innovation and creativity, the use of digital media for productivity and competitiveness, converting education through skills development with sectoral employment, considerations of environmental issues, and the continued strengthening of the regulatory scope of business.
This was launched during a meeting by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister for the Economy and Industry Minister Silvio Schembri in which a number of discussions were held with local stakeholders. Named ‘A Future-proof Malta – a nation of courage, compassion and achievement’, the consultation document is divided into five main pillars which are:
• Sustainable economic growth to improve the quality of life;
• High quality infrastructure and investment;
• Education and employment;
• High standards of accounting, governance, and the rule of law.
Each of these pillars presents a mission whose purpose is to set priorities for the next decade and to lead to ‘A Future-proof Malta’.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said, “Today we are paving the way for the next decade where our country will become a centre of excellence, worthy of being the best in Europe and in the world. Before, we wanted to reach the average, now we want to reach the peak”. He recalled how our country has built a sustainable and robust economic policy over the years. This is the reason why our country was able to withstand the turbulent episodes brought about by the pandemic, where the government doubled the expenditure for health and education, was a shoulder for businesses, protecting the interests of all, and adopted a holistic vision which prevented anyone from falling behind.
To maintain the level reached by our country’s economy and even improve upon it, we need a greater effort to make the next leap, said the Prime Minister. To do this we need to transform the education system in a significant way so that education is no longer just a defined phase but an ongoing process.
“Only with a different education system can we build an economy where the quality of life improves,” he said. This along with a strong investment required for our infrastructure for our country to remain competitive. “That is why in the midst of a pandemic we announced the largest industrial infrastructure plan ever designed for our country,” the Prime Minister continued. He reminded that complementing these two pillars is governance, accountability, and the rule of law which we must continue to protect and enforce.
He also mentioned that one cannot have a healthy economy if the environment is not healthy, and one cannot have a protected environment if the economy is weak. This means that environmental transformation is the best economic opportunity this generation holds. “To build a carbon-neutral society, we anticipate years of investment ahead of us which will create great opportunities for both existing and prospective businesses,” he said.
He ended his speech by calling for unity which will ultimately strengthen this vision and build new prosperity.
On his part, Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri recalled how a year ago during a global pandemic, one of the largest COVID-19 economic recovery packages in the world was launched, which implemented measures which saved over 100,000 jobs. Now that this situation has passed, we can look ahead and, therefore, it is time for an economic vision which leads to longer-term plans which concern and will impact the whole country.
Minister Schembri reiterated that in addition to improving the quality of life of the citizen, this vision also aims to foster a new mindset when it comes to policy-making, innovation, and tangible achievements at the heart of economic growth, capable of addressing emerging challenges, while identifying relevant solutions. He also explained how this will be carried out through consultation and collaboration between all government ministries across the board. The discussion process will also be open to the whole of society, as well as industry and business, in order to share ideas on the direction to be taken to finally strike a balance between economic prosperity and the protection of the environment.
Minister Schembri reaffirmed the government’s commitment to building an economy that respects the principles of social justice, equality of opportunity, and benefits that will ensure the wellbeing of the many and not the few. He said how this exercise will bolster this island into a nation of the future and will ensure a prosperous economy for all. Among those who will benefit from this exercise, the Minister mentioned:
• Students who will enjoy better quality, well-paid jobs;
• Entrepreneurs/business leaders who through innovative and competitive new economic niches will be able to operate in a stronger and more dynamic environment;
• Pensioners who will benefit from the support and improvement of our commitment to the older generations through increased economic growth;
• Working families who will benefit by improving the quality of life through work-life balance in a healthy natural environment.
“We need to take advantage of the futuristic trends that the pandemic has spawned, such as remote working, which provides a solid basis for expanding the service-based economy that Malta offers around the world, while taking the opportunities that result from this new reality. This involves embracing the fourth industrial revolution, based on advanced technology that determines the way we live, work and relate to each other,” concluded Minister Schembri.
The consultation process is being conducted by the Ministry for the Economy and Industry through MIMCOL while the consultation document is available at https://mimcol.com.mt/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/A-Future-Proof-Malta-Consultation-Document.pdf
The consultation closes on 31 July 2021.
Technical Note: Economic Vision 2021 – 2031 for national public consultation
The five pillars:
1. Sustainable Economic Growth to improve the quality of life
- Protecting growth for current industries while creating a culture of innovation for new niches;
- Introducing a framework for how all public and private stakeholders will contribute to an inclusive and long-term sustainable economic model of the country.
2. High quality infrastructure and investment
- Commitment to developing a world-class sustainable infrastructure in an increasingly globalized world;
- Creating vibrant investment for domestic and foreign entrepreneurs and developing it into a regional hub for new businesses.
3. Education and Employment
- Providing the necessary conditions in which human capital in Malta can acquire the knowledge and skills needed today to build the economy of the future;
- Creating high-quality, well-paid jobs and fostering the certainty that Malta is the natural home for global talent by stimulating education and employment in order to further raise working capacity, enabling it to compete with the most advanced economies.
- Protecting the future generations of Malta;
- A smooth transition to a circular and sustainable economy in all sectors of economic activity, embracing new alternative energy practices to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
5. High Standards of Accounting, Governance, and the Rule of Law
- Good governance in all spheres of public life and in its key institutions, establishing itself as a reliable, transparent, and efficient economic partner in the global sphere;
- Continuous improvement of the integrity and transparency of public institutions in order to promote greater good governance, stronger governance throughout the economy, and respect for the rule of law.
An analytical look at the economic situation of Malta over the last decade
It shows that it has experienced year-on-year growth at levels exceeding the rest of the EU, with an average recorded growth of 6.4% of GDP, every year since 2013. Average employment growth was 3.9% quarter-on-year, year-on-year, along with record low unemployment rates. Private consumption grew by more than 29%, while gross fixed capital formation increased by more than 65% over the same period. Domestic tourism also doubled from 1.4 million to 2.8 million in 2019. While the ratio of Debt to GDP ratio since 2015 was by a margin of 60%, in 2019 it decreased to 42.6% compared to 80% of the Eurozone average.