CC COVER STORY 7. Increasing social benefits in line with increased productivity “It is essential that any increase in wages and increases in social costs and benefits, which we should not be against, should be in line with increases in productivity. If businesses are to invest to raise productivity they also need to earn a return on that investment. Any wage cost increase beyond productivity gains would threaten one’s competitiveness in the global economy.” 8. Reiterating the Chamber’s proposed solution to the Air Malta crisis “The national airline, Air Malta, is at a crucial point in its existence. As a Chamber, we have always insisted that the importance of the national airline is not only linked to the tourism sector but also the remainder of the economy as thousands of business operations including industry and services. Manufacturing for example, depends on the efficient and competitive airfreight links for the inward just-in-time transportation of raw materials and outbound exports. In this light I reiterate our proposal to Government for a long-term solution for the airline based on three main pillars; namely, the reduction of operational costs; the rectification of the company’s current financial situation and settling all of its debts; and the division of the company’s shareholding into three parts. A third would be retained by the Government, a third would be sold off to an international strategic partner which is involved in the aviation sector and a third would be offered to the local private sector through the Malta Stock Exchange.” 9. Remaining vigilant about international economic and political developments “The formal triggering of Article 50, and the imminent Election on 8th June, have thickened the plot even further as Brexit remains a major unknown quantity and completely new ground for all stakeholders to tread on. At this point in time, very little can be said about the subject, especially since real talks on Brexit will most likely only start after the upcoming General Election in the UK, but there will surely be changes within the European Union as a major political and economic block. The results will also be felt in the way we conduct business in Malta and with our international partners.” 10. Defending businesses against harmful and unsustainable electoral promises “In less than a year, we shall be in full election mode, and both Government and the Opposition will be busy electioneering. This will be taking place within the context of a booming economy – which still has its pockets of concern, as detailed above – and an international scenario that can be described as tricky at best. Our appeal remains sound. Political parties should not engage in a race to out-bid each other in making electoral promises that are unsustainable and potentially detrimental to the country’s future economic growth. As a Chamber we shall remain vigilant and promote the interests of our members and the values of competitiveness-driven economic growth.” cc APRIL / MAY 2017
The Official Business magazine of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry since 1947.