MALTA CHAMBER ANNUAL REPORT 2020/2021 T H E A N N U A L A D M I N I S T R AT I V E R E P O R T O F T H E M A LTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, ENTERPRISE & INDUSTRY
A Special Edition of The Commercial Courier
G O L D C O L L A B O R AT I N G P A R T N E R S
This article is a sponsored feature.
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CONTENTS Foreword by President Perit David Xuereb Administrative Report by The Malta Chamber Council of the Malta Chamber 2019-2021 Malta Chamber Staff The year in pictures - Events Highlights POLICY Policy Positions 2020-21 Policy Committees S E C TO R S Economic Groups Executive Committee Members
012 016 019 019 021 041 042 059 065 066
Economic Groups 068 Importers, Distributors and Retailers 0 6 8 Economic Group
Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group
Services Providers Economic Group
I N T E R N AT I O N A L I S AT I O N IRC & BCs Internationalisation Survey DS4AIR ERASMUS+ Thematic Webinars Relations with Diplomatic Corps Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)
085 087 087 087 089 090 093
Executive Committees 097 Business Sections Policy Committees 098 Chamber Administrative Committees 0101 Malta Chamber Commissions set up by Statute 0 1 0 1 Nominees on Boards and Committees 0103 Employers’ Nominees on Boards and Committees of the European Community (Representing All Malta’s Employers)
Value to Chamber Members Projects Administration Examination Services Surveys ISO:9001
0 1 07 0 1 07
Malta Business Bureau Trade Malta Tech.MT Education Malta Public Relations Media Releases
0112 0117 0118 0122
EDITOR: Edward Bonello CREATIVE COORDINATOR: Martina Said
Content House Group Mallia Buildings 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju, Zone 3, Central Business District, Birkirkara CBD 3010 T: +356 2132 0713 E: email@example.com www.contenthouse.com.mt
Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry The Exchange, Republic Street, Valletta VLT1117 T: +356 2123 3873 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.maltachamber.org.mt
Membership Onboarding Meetings
DESIGN: Nicholas Cutajar – Design Studio at Content House Ltd DIRECTOR OF SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Matthew Spiteri
0108 0110 0111 0111
DIRECTOR OF SALES & OPERATIONS: Lindsey Napier CORPORATE SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE: Afton Caruana HEAD OF DIGITAL & MARKETING: Raisa Mazzola OPERATIONS & CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGER: Elena Dimech
The Annual Administrative Report of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is distributed to all the members of the Malta Chamber and to leading businesses. The cut-off date for information published in this Annual Administrative Report is 15th February 2021. Events occurring after this date will appear in the 2021-2022 report.
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Photo: Justin Mamo
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THE RESTLESSNESS that augurs well
OV ER THE PAST 24 M ONTHS, WE HAVE EMBARKED ON A V E R ITA B LE J O UR NEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY AS AN OR GA N ISATIO N . THIS WAS ALSO A JOURNEY OF GOALOR I E N TE D G R OW TH, THAT HAS CEMENTED THE MALTA C H A M B E R AS THE UNDISPUTED FOREMOST BUSINESS R E P R E SE N TATIVE BODY IN THE COUNTRY.
When I look back over the past two years, I almost find it hard to fathom the immense work we have done together as a team, and the goals we managed to achieve. This Council, I am happy to call my team, will be leaving a stronger, resilient and ambitious Chamber of a stronger national standing in all aspects, which is held in high regard by all of the country’s institutions, and is on a steady trajectory for further growth and success. The Chamber’s actions that are relevant, honest, timely and professional have been the ingredients of this successful formula. I do not wish to wax lyrical on what our achievements have been in the past two years. These are well detailed by our formidable executive team in this and last year’s annual reports. I do wish, however, to reflect on why we decided to take this quantum leap, and how we did it. Firstly, we were driven by absolute and unashamed objectiveness and relentless national ambition. Every step of the way, we
studied and addressed every issue objectively, and took the right steps, in the interest of our members, without looking anyone in the face. This led to our Chamber becoming the undisputed thought-leader in all issues that affect business and the quality of life of the Maltese. Be it the Economic Vision, Good Governance, Public Procurement, the National Budget process, COVID-19 assistance to businesses, the need for Business Reengineering, Brexit, and so many other issues, we never stood shy nor minced our words, and always put you, our members, first. With every priority that the Chamber identified, we rolled up our sleeves, engaged with as many members as possible, engaged with experts, understood the global dimension, studied options, priorities and recommendations well, took a pro-active approach and communicated effectively. We managed to bring on board the finest minds the country has to offer, and formulated a veritable patrimony of thought-rich documents
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which we presented to Government and all relevant authorities. All documents were filled to the brim with concrete, measurable proposals, most of which, I am pleased to note, were appreciated, accepted and implemented into national policy. We rose to many challenges. COVID-19 offered the perfect storm, as the globe’s economy ground to a halt. However, we chose to see the opportunity in these challenges and offer real guidance and leadership. I feel we grew closer to our members, as we offered tangible support while we all navigated the uncharted territories of the pandemic. We vociferously expressed the true and tangible concerns to Government. We made a difference and have been truly impactful. This did not go unnoticed, as more businesses saw the true value of becoming part of our Chamber. We grew in new areas, bringing on board business leaders with true and real engagement from an array of backgrounds, industries, and sectors. Today our organisation is richer and more diverse than ever, and this is
possibly one of our greatest achievements. The Chamber has captured the aligned energies of many and channelled this into true value to members and the country at large. Looking back, I am satisfied that we have come a long and meaningful way. The restlessness of our members, however, is well reflected in every breath of our organisation and that will continue to augur well as we strive through the next steps in history that remain in the making. I am truly proud and happy to form part of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, since this has enabled me to work with the best and most inspiring business leaders in an honest, objective and intelligent manner that has enabled meaningful impact. I am honoured to have led this organisation during the past two years. I wish to thank you all for making this experience a truly positive one. PERIT DAVID XUEREB President of The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry
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A D M I N I S T R AT I V E R E P O R T BY T H E M A LTA C H A M B E R The following is a summary of the work carried out by The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry between March 2020 and March 2021. The work of The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in the past 12 months has been characterised by a restless drive to be close to its members and support their needs at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, while maintaining the planned trajectory for fruitful restructuring, growth and success. Part of the restructuring process which took place at the Chamber involved the establishment of a series of Policy Committees which focus on specific issues that cut across all the Economic Groups that call the Chamber home. Concentrating on matters relating to the Circular Economy, Education, HR and Talent, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, and Building and Construction among others, these committees welcome in their ranks the country’s foremost business operators from their areas of interest and are supported by sponsors who make this specialised and focused work possible. THINK TANK – LESS GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNANCE The same restructuring process also saw the establishment of the Think Tank which brought together over 140 leading CEOs to propose a series of concrete recommendations for a postCOVID-19 Malta. The Malta Chamber was aware from the outset that these unprecedented times necessitated a robust and multi-faceted effort to support members on several levels. Through this initiative, The Malta Chamber led as the thought leadership institution its members have come to expect and are accustomed to. Once again, our Chamber was proactive in its actions and proposed concrete recommendations which were extremely well received. The Think Tank called on Government to adopt The Malta Chamber’s Economic Vision 2020-2025 outlining actions to render all sectors of the economy to become more sustainable and resilient. The report also underlined the absolute importance of robust good governance. A fundamental concern mentioned by all sectors is Malta’s reputation in the international sphere, appreciating how influential this is for foreign investment and continued prosperity. The country needed to have proper frameworks in place and all stakeholders needed to ensure that they had the right structures and
processes to reassure good governance, as was previously recommended in The Malta Chamber’s Good Governance Manifesto in January 2020. MONEYVAL RECOMMENDATIONS The Malta Chamber established and led a forum with the aim of bringing together players in the financial services sector, to present a unified voice and support Government navigate the resolve of the Moneyval evaluation. The forum drafted and presented a document titled ‘Recommendations for the Moneyval Assessment’. The Malta Chamber, as Malta’s foremost guardian of the country’s competitiveness, has taken it upon itself to lead this concerted effort, and placed its resources at its disposal to help obtain a favourable outcome for Malta. Recommendations called for a clear communication strategy to report on unambiguous, objective and credible progress achieved in updating Malta’s regulatory infrastructure relating to Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism, as well as the Rule of Law. While acknowledging and appreciating the various legislative and regulatory work conducted by Government and authorities thus far, The Malta Chamber through its Moneyval Forum also proposed the appointment of one technical, apolitical national spokesperson to communicate developments and improvements being registered by Government on the subject in a clear albeit technical manner. REPORT ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT REFORM 2021 Another watershed moment for The Malta Chamber in the past year was the publication of a report for a proposed reform in the public procurement process. The Malta Chamber argued that public procurement represents an important component of business opportunities for economic operators in Malta, and hence must be done properly and with respect to the law. The Malta Chamber set up a working group formed of individuals from various economic sectors, who came up with real and tangible recommendations, which were in turn presented to the Prime Minister, Leader of
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the Opposition and all relevant procurement authorities and agencies in the country. This serious work was developed after a consultation process with its members. The document serves as valuable guidance for the reforms that are considered necessary, in order to ensure that economic operators are able to perform on an equitable level playing field when tendering for Government purchase requests. These reforms also serve to ensure that national funds are deployed to their best potential and in the interest of the taxpayer and the public at large. VALUE TO CHAMBER MEMBERS In 2020, The Malta Chamber set out to build stronger relationships both with its existing members and the business community at large. Resolute in its mission to be the voice of the Maltese business community, the Chamber launched several initiatives, addressing opportunity, and active participation within its vast network. The Chamber re-designed its annual programming to expand its members’ networks, notwithstanding the pandemic, and also continued to advocate for every sector of business, providing support needed during the pandemic and a sustainable growth-focused economic environment. A DIGITALISATION JOURNEY The past months have also been characterised by a journey towards a technology-led restructuring process. In fact, the Chamber launched an intranet which has revolutionised the way the organisation interacts with its members. As a Chamber, the objectives were
always driven by the ambition to provide added value to members. Indeed, ‘Members’ Gateway’ gives members exclusive access to a system which aims at facilitating networking, communication, engagement and feedback. It simplifies the sharing of timely information providing the Chamber with important insight and increased sensitivity of its membership overall realities, of the needs of individual economic segments, and also of each specific individual member so that the experience with our Chamber is actively improved and refined as a matter of priority. During the second half of the year, the Chamber also embarked on an upgrade of its IT infrastructure, re-engineering its day-today processes to ensure a constant service to members. The project also included an upgrade to the Chamber’s network infrastructure through Wi-Fi enhancements as well as back-up and recovery plans, including redundancy of equipment while protecting the Chamber’s operations to ensure business continuity. A NEW LOOK FOR THE CHAMBER Reflecting the restless drive to be Malta’s foremost business representative body, in June 2020 a brand new corporate identity for the organisation was launched. During the Annual General Meeting of 2020, which was held online, the Chamber unveiled its new brand identity which offers a bow of respect to the organisation’s past, but also proposes a renewed sense of purpose to boldly continue influencing policy while building a resilient business culture.
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C O U N C I L O F T H E M A LTA C H A M B E R 2019-2021 Mr David Xuereb President Ms Marisa Xuereb Deputy President Ms Liz Barbaro-Sant Vice-President Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Vice-President Mr Ian Casolani Member of the Board of Management Mr Matthias Fauser Member of the Board of Management Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Member of the Board of Management Mr Mr Mr Mr
Patrick Cachia Reuben Cuschieri Marcel Cutajar Reginald Fava
Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Chairperson, Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group Mr Joseph Pace Chairperson, Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group Mr Matthew Sullivan Chairperson, Services Providers Economic Group Mr Anthony Tabone Dr Alison Vassallo Mr Nicholas Xuereb Mr Charles A. Zahra
PA S T P R E S I D E N T S Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Mr Anton Borg Mr Joe Caruana Curran Mr Tony Cassar Mr David G. Curmi Mr Joseph R. Darmanin Mr Anthony S. Diacono Ms Helga Ellul Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Louis A. Farrugia Mr Martin Galea Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Francis T. Gera Mr Joe Grioli Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Franco Masini Mr John E. Sullivan Mr Joseph N. Tabone Mr Tancred Tabone Mr Joe Zammit Tabona
M A LTA C H A M B E R S TA F F Mr Edward Chetcuti Chief Executive Officer
Mr Andre Fenech Head – Policy Development and Members Relations Mr Stefan Bajada Business Development Manager Mr Edward Bonello Communications Manager Ms Johanna Calleja Manager – Statutory Affairs and Administration Ms Diana Miceli, Policy Development Manager
The Board of Management of The Malta Chamber. Photo: Bernard Polidano
Mr Kevin Mizzi Manager – Member and Stakeholder Relations Ms Rachel Micallef Projects Manager Mr Timothy Alden Policy Executive Ms Julia Aquilina Policy Executive Mr Mel Aquilina Executive – Marketing and Communications Ms Melanie Cuzzoni Executive – Member and Stakeholder Relations Ms Elena Scicluna Executive – Education Mr Anthony Tanti Examinations Clerk Ms Bernice Chircop Accounts Administrator Ms Roberta Pisani Office Administrator Ms Cheryl Cardona Coordinator – Front Office Mr Joseph Fenech Support Staff Mr Charles Maione Support Staff Mr Anton Attard Consultant Mr Lino Mintoff Advisor Internationalisation
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THE YEAR IN PICTURES EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS
February 2020: 1-3. Launch of Economic Vision 2020-2025 March 2020: 4-5. Interview with Euronews 6. Signing of agreement with Klikk 7-9. Presentation of Economic Vision to Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela
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March 2020: 10-12. Meeting with Minister Carmelo Abela May 2020: 13-14. QUESTION TIME - webinar June 2020: 15-16. Official Visit to H.E. the President of Malta 17-20. Walkabout in Republic Street, visiting retail outlets as they re-opened after the COVID-19 partial lockdown.
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June 2020: 21-25. 2020 Annual General Meeting 26-27. Signing of gold sponsorship agreement with EY July 2020: 28. Meeting of Yachting Business Section with Charmaine Gauci 29-31. Signing of Bronze Agreement - Atlas
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July 2020: 32-35. Young Chamber Network event at Madliena Lodge 36-37. Signing of agreement with PTMatic 38-39. Signing of Gold sponsorship agreement with RSM 40. Meeting with Chamber of Scientists 41-42. Presentation of recommendations on Moneyval to Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela
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August 2020: 43-44. Signing of MOU with Rwanda Private Sector Federation 45-47. Think Tank Presentation Heading Beyond COVID 48-50. Think Tank presentation to Cabinet of Ministers 51-53. Think Tank presentation to the Opposition
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August 2020: 54. Healthcare Committee Meets Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Mr Fearne 55-56. Meeting with Minister Silvio Schembri 57-58. Signing of agreement with T4B 59-61. Presentation of Pre-Budget recommendations to the Prime Minister September 2020: 62-63. Meet the Prime Minister 64. Press Conference address by operators from the Creative Sector calling for assistance amidst the pandemic
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September 2020: 65. MOU with Chamber of Scientists October 2020: 66-67. Signing with BNF Bank 68. A webinar on teleworking 69-70. LIFE & STYLE Interview 71-72. Signing of agreement with Vistage Malta 73-74. Signing Of MOU To Support Vulnerable Children In Accessing Online Learning
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October 2020: 75-77. Budget proposals document launch 78-79. Presentation of pre-budget proposals to the Opposition 80. Meeting with Hon Bartolo 81-82. Hsequtive launch November 2020: 83-86. Launch of the Re-Engineering Scheme in collaboration with Malta Enterprise as part of SME week 2020
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November 2020: 87. Malta-Japan Chamber Of Commerce Joins The Malta Chamber 88. Business Urged To Prepare For No-Deal Brexit 89. The Malta Chamber And MEIA Agree To Support Each Other In The Interest Of The Creative Sector 90-92. Dialogues session organised by the Manufacturing and Other Industries Economic Group December 2020: 93. Malta Chamber staff receive Premju Haddiema tas-Sena January 2021: 94-97. Launch of Recommendations on Public Procurement
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January 2021: 98-99. Malta-India Women’s Chamber (WICCI Malta) Joins The Malta Chamber February 2021: 100-101. Meeting with the Maltese Turkish Business Council 102-103. Presentation of Public Procurement Report to the Prime Minister 104. Inauguration of new offices for Tech.MT 105. Meeting with Turkish Ambassador 106. Presentation of Public Procurement Report to Dr Bernard Grech 107. Meeting with Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli 108. Presentation of Public Procurement report to Director of Contracts
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POLICY POSITIONS 2020-21
LAUNCH OF THE NEW MALTA CHAMBER ECONOMIC VISION 2020-2025 Following the success of the original Economic Vision 2014-2020, the Malta Chamber saw fit to propose a new vision, this time looking at the upcoming five years, to set the economic agenda and propose recommendations. The new Economic Vision aptly titled an ‘Economic Vision for Malta – A Smart Sustainable Island’ is the result of a long process of research, foresight and vision. The document is in line with the Chamber’s mission to support, represent and connect businesses to grow and engage in shaping Malta’s future. In 2019, the Chamber had embarked on the design of a new Economic Vision that would build on the previous one. The Malta Chamber tasked 26 CEOs of top business organisations operating from Malta to formulate the Economic Vision 2020-2025 for the Maltese islands. This document would reflect the ideas of Malta’s most prominent business leaders, together with the Chamber’s views, on where they see their sectors and Malta’s economy in general going in the next five years. The document was launched to the public in February 2020 during a special event organised at the Exchange Building. The main highlights of the vision itself and the principles that underpin this plan for growth include the following. Strategic Principles • Quality • Innovation and technology • Global reach • Human capital • Productivity • Governance • Social cohesion Through this document, the Malta Chamber was taking a revolutionary approach and has proposed a two-pronged vision. Moving away from focusing only on the economy, the Chamber is giving a great deal of importance to sustainable economic development and hence quality of life. The 59 recommendations put forward in the document reflect this vision. Both elements are based on the presence of underlying national economic determinants. In fact, the document
in question identifies four such determinants in its first classification of recommendations, these being: 1. Long-term macro-economic stability, which includes an emphasis on a national discussion resulting in a bipartisan agreement on the reforms required in pensions, health, and long- term care. 2. Digitalisation, for which the Chamber recommends that a Prime Minister- led task force, should be set up to lead the design and implementation of the fundamental elements that allow the country to be a ‘winner’ in the 5G-based NDE. 3. Governance, Government and judiciary, reaffirming the Chamber’s belief in the three main pillars of good governance: accountability, transparency and the rule of law. 4. Infrastructure bottlenecks, on which the Chamber states that addressing such issues would in turn reduce costs of businesses and increase competitiveness. Smart Economic Growth Another fundamental category which was tackled in the Economic Vision is achieving Smart Economic Growth, for which the Vision pinpoints four core thrusts that should be addressed, particularly: Smart innovation economy, recommending that economic-based innovation should include value-added manufacturing; digitalisation; smart-city technologies; marine and aquaculture technologies; aviation and aerospace technologies; and, health and biotechnology, amongst other proposals. Supporting the competitive make-up of business, for example through the suggestion that Government reduces the cost of energy for non-household consumers. By doing so, it will render business more internationally competitive and reduce inflationary wage prices resulting from price transferring of energy costs from the retail and distribution sector onto the domestic economy. Developing a highly skilled, highly productive workforce, which is another important issue for the Chamber.
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Strengthening the structural framework of the economy, through the creation of a new economic sector, as well as a transition towards the circular economy. Sustainable Development The last group of recommendations which the Vision focuses on relate to securing sustainable economic development. The three main points addressed in the recommendations found in this section are: Inclusive economy, on which the Chamber states that Malta should seek and embrace foreign talent, and not fear it, as seen in high-performing economies such as the UK, Germany, Australia and the US. A planned, safe, and resilient built environment, reflecting once again the general perception upheld by many Chamber members that the construction industry needs serious and urgent uplifting to quality standards in a regulated industry-climate. Resource efficiency and low-carbon economy, tackling the issues which arise when considering Malta’s size and dense urbanisation, including the pervasiveness resulting from the concentration of pollutants from land vehicles and sea traffic. The Chamber recognises that Malta, at this juncture, is at a cross roads. The decisions that are taken during the term of this Vision are ones that will define Malta’s future over the
coming 20 years. It is for this purpose that the Chamber presents a Vision that has a shorter timeframe. In contributing its Economic Vision to the country, the Chamber shall be following the uptake of its recommendations by identifying a number of indicators that will tangibly assist in the measurement of progress throughout the time period covered by the Vision. In so doing, it pledges its full support to Government and national stakeholders in meeting business’s expectations for Malta’s economic and social advancement in the immediate years ahead. A SMART SUSTAINABLE ISLAND: DRIVING THE WEALTH AND WELLNESS OF SOCIETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE ANNUAL BUDGET 2021 During the first months of COVID-19 in 2020, The Malta Chamber brought together around 140 of the best minds in industry across 12 sectoral roundtables to pool expertise and discuss a way forward for the country in the midst of the pandemic. The results of this Think Tank were presented on 4th August 2020, and then served as the basis for The Malta Chamber’s budget recommendations. In a document titled ‘A Smart Sustainable Island: Driving the Wealth and Wellness of Society’, The Malta Chamber issued 11 Calls to Action for the economy. The Malta Chamber charted the way forward based on the idea that economic growth must enhance the quality of life of the people, and
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that wellbeing leads to prosperity. The Malta Chamber acknowledged this Budget as being more critical than any other recent budget exercise, based on the idea that it should have aimed for a quick and sustainable economic recovery by providing the stimulus for reinvention and reassure re-investment in key priority sectors. Government was expected to provide the right perspective and framework conditions that would inspire and reassure the economy to ‘Recover, Re-Invent, Re-Invest’. The Malta Chamber’s overarching recommendation was for the implementation of effective growth-enhancing measures conducive towards the country’s sustainability goals and the physical and mental wellness of its people. The Think Tank’s 11 Calls to Action included: 1. A Clear Economic Vision: Government was strongly encouraged to note the Economic Vision presented by The Malta Chamber presented in February 2020, ‘An Economic Vision for a Smart Sustainable Island: 20202025’ and assimilate the recommendations into National Policy. In doing so, Government would be looking beyond the next two years, focusing on clear priorities by implementing the recommendations and communicating the vision with clear goals and direction, so as to reduce uncertainty and risk when it comes to investing. 2. Good Governance: The country needs to have the proper frameworks and standards in place and stakeholders need to ensure that they have the right structures and processes to guarantee good governance. 3. Government Assistance: The economic vision is crucial for Government to provide targeted assistance where it is needed most and will offer the highest returns. 4. Sustainability: Government and all stakeholders need to put sustainability at the centre of their strategies, to ensure quality of life, wellbeing and an optimistic, healthy future for all. 5. Infrastructure: Good infrastructure enables the continuous development of the economy. The Malta Chamber encourages Government to guarantee the type of investment required to develop our infrastructure in the right direction. 6. Better Regulation and Enforcement: Good regulation can provide a competitive advantage to the country. Whenever the
country was first to legislate, it managed to gain an advantage on others who did not. It is crucial to enforce the regulations currently in place, as not doing so creates unfair competition. 7. Digitalisation and Innovation: The country needs to continue developing the environment, resources and ecosystems required for these to happen. 8. Become Data Driven: The country needs to have a data-centric culture and the necessary tools to collect and make data available. Government should also make available all the data it has on an open-source platform, as it is a resource which may greatly strengthen Maltese enterprise. 9. Develop Human Capital: Government is to continue offering and strengthening the incentives aimed at developing human resources. In most sectors, skills are becoming specialised and more sophisticated, therefore, closer collaboration in the area is required to close the skills gap. 10. Reform and Align Education: Engage in educational reform, pull education into the digital era, and ensure that students are placed at the centre of the educational system. This is another reason why a clear economic vision is so important. 11. Promote and Communicate: Embark on campaigns which promote Malta as a great location for most business types, be they a start-up or established business, as well as a tourism destination. It is also imperative to communicate as widely as possible as to where the country is heading in terms of an economic vision.
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POST BUDGET 2021 REACTIONS The Malta Chamber was in constant dialogue with Government throughout the pandemic, aiming to minimise its effects on the Maltese economy. Nonetheless, The Malta Chamber noted that the Budget did not fully address all aspects of the massive impact that COVID-19 is having on operational costs for the broad range of businesses affected, and no new measures to support businesses that are struggling on this front were introduced. The Budget reflected Government’s optimism that the economy will recover in the short term, an optimism that was not shared by businesses at large. The Chamber hoped that should the COVID-19 crisis deepen or extend beyond the following six months, further support beyond that included in the Budget would be forthcoming. The Malta Chamber recognized that the economic stakeholders and decisionmakers must take advantage of the disruption that has been brought about in the past year and seek new opportunities within it. The country must emerge out of this fog more resilient and energized today, for a more competitive Malta tomorrow. In this regard, The Malta Chamber felt that this Budget fell short on the details as to how to achieve this. The Malta Chamber pledged to continue pursuing such calls.
The Malta Chamber, nonetheless, welcomed the following measures: 1. Extend the wage supplement scheme linked to the loss in turnover of operators. 2. Extend the voucher scheme which the Chamber believes should have been implemented immediately rather than January 2021. 3. Extend the existing liquidity measures. 4. Create a holistic plan to attract the digital and innovative economy such as exports, virtual and augmented reality and 3D printing amongst others. 5. Promote innovation incentives aimed at companies employing less than 50 persons. 6. Implement green economy measures. The Chamber also commended Government’s resolve in terms of good governance measures, such as the strengthening of the Attorney General Office and Office of State Attorney. Furthermore, it was noted that the authorities are addressing the recommendations highlighted in the 2019 Moneyval Report. The positive results of the latter’s assessment will be crucial due to our dependence on foreign investors and the country’s importance as a financial jurisdiction. The Malta Chamber reiterated that good governance and succeeding the Moneyval test, amongst others, should be seen as a
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shared responsibility, and the private sector is willing to offer any assistance required by the authorities to restore the country’s long-term reputation.
Prime Minister Abela led a cabinet meeting for the first time at the Exchange Buildings of the Malta Chamber, outlining his economic ambitions for Malta for the coming years.
In advance of this Budget, the Chamber appealed to Government to implement a long-term action plan to incentivize businesses to drive the wealth and wellness of society, with a shift towards resilience, sustainability and improved quality. This needed be done in tandem with good governance practices, to rise above the current predicament and move ahead with confidence, to restore stability and the country’s reputation, as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister based his five main principles that would serve as an economic model for the future on the findings of the Malta Chamber Think Tank.
THINK TANK In April, the Malta Chamber was agile to embark on an ambitious Think Tank project led by Joshua Zammit, bringing together over 140 leading CEOs and entrepreneurs from 12 different industry clusters to come out with over 80 medium term (24-month) recommendations by July. Such requirement was felt before the onset of COVID-19, when Malta’s economy was booming but the levels were not sustainable, underlining a need for an economically sustainable plan. The exercise served to further finetune what has already been proposed in our Economic Vision for Malta 2020-2025 published in February, with 59 recommendations drawn up by 26 Maltese top business executives from diverse economic sectors to make our country smart and sustainable, also in the context of digital transformation. Several meetings were set within the ambit of 12 sectorial round tables focused on tourism, hospitality, construction, financial services, education and training, retail, importers, exporters, digital and media, technology, manufacturing, transport and logistics. The business leaders engaged by the Malta Chamber put their minds together to design scenarios of how the future might look moving forward and identified recommendations to influence the country’s economic future. In August, the Malta Chamber was praised by Government for once again taking a proactive role at a very sensitive juncture for business and employees, outlining the underlying takeaway message that the wellbeing of people should drive our economy, in full respect of sustainability goals and physical and mental wellness; calling for more macroeconomic direction with less government and more governance. A week after the publication of the Malta Chamber Think Tank recommendations,
These five points of principle were: • Good governance • Economic growth for a better quality of life • Education for a long-term healthy economy • Improving Malta’s infrastructure • Carbon neutrality by 2050 with intermediate targets every ten years Gasan Mamo Insurance supported the Malta Chamber Think Tank project. MAIN THINK TANK ROUND TABLE RECOMMENDATIONS CONSULTATION REPORTS Sectorial Round Table Recommendations Hospitality Maintain and improve Wage Subsidy until vaccine is administered. Implement laws on rent for force majeure.
VAT reduction from 18% to 7%. Promote Malta as a safe destination.
Keep Malta’s ports open safely. Media campaign for locals and tourists to uphold responsibility.
Ensure practical and flexible employment of TCNs.
Tourism Marketing and promoting Malta as a safe destination. Keep Malta’s ports open safely. Incentivise/subsidise and diversify airline routes.
Lower VAT to 7% for all travel related services.
Tax losses carried back. A national and holistic tourism strategy. Focus on quality. Pausing PA applications and raising standards.
Financial Services Rebuilding and safeguarding Malta’s reputation (Moneyval).
ESG principles must be woven in our country’s fabric. Areas for growth: FinTech, Core Financial Services and ESG related offerings. Importance of improving E-Gov. Support for innovation.
Human capital: Address skills gap, revise academic curriculum and include international outlook and disruption of the sector. Incentivise foreign expertise. Create platform for funding opportunities for start-ups.
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Sectorial Round Table Recommendations Education & Training Back to school within the new norm.
Support to parents. Faster payment for all funding schemes. A rescue plan for EFL sector. Incentivise skilling and reskilling of workforce.
Technology Start-Up Ecosystem encouraging angel investors and venture capital supplemented with a funded tech support platform led by a key international leader. Embassies as business facilitators, support for fairs participation, legal assistance in target jurisdictions and marketing activities.
Visa extensions for international students due to COVID-19.
Make AI Strategy work! Tech earlier in education curriculum, education campaign for parents, blended with online courses.
Construction A strategic national vision. Better regulation and harmonisation of laws.
Remote worker teams, including overseas, to expand the effective talent pool.
Resource Education Malta to attract international students.
Support for training service providers.
A resourced Building and Construction Authority (BCA). Incentives for the regeneration of dilapidated areas.
R&I Investment for an improved built environment.
Holistic review of the local plans.
Retail Implement laws on rent for force majeure. Access to finance and minimise collateral for MDB loan.
Keep Malta’s ports open safely. Level playing field in taxation and enforce existing regulations. Ensure practical and flexible employment of TCNs. Ensure accessibility to retail destinations.
National campaign of reassurance for consumers. Manufacturing New vision for manufacturing in Malta – cluster granular approach. A formalised stage-lifting approach. Incentives for digital smart manufacturing.
Support related to hyper retreat from hyper-globalisation. Education for Industry 4.0 mind-set. Reduce bureaucracy.
Effective Government incentives on recurrent and utility costs.
Transport & Logistics Invest in mass rapid transit and inter- modal solutions which can reduce journey times.
Take stock of Transport Master Plan 2025 and the Strategic Plan 2050 aims and objectives. Mobility e-wallet for various transport modes, not private ones.
Consolidate transport operations close to the airport to park vehicles. Centralise logistics delivery process to reduce costs. Launch public-private partnerships to create new underground parking spaces.
Incentives for business processes re- engineering.
Digital & Media Transparent Government advertising rules, free media from indirect obligations.
Telecoms eager to invest in future tech infrastructure subject to a concrete long-term Government vision. Political parties should not occupy TV media space. Wellbeing of society driving the economy, ready to promote the concept.
National broadcaster to support the film industry more effectively.
Events devastation risk support for qualitative activity commitments.
Exporters Strategic export clusters: leverage, network, consortia.
Safeguard measures for Maltese resilient indigenous business vs FDI. Improvement in the Key Employee Initiative.
Clear pathway for third country workers to become Maltese citizens after years of work in Malta. Banking and insurance industry to prioritise export orientated operations, corresponding banks. Digital export marketing investment and training. Importers Improved MIP schemes and & Wholesalers warehousing solutions.
Better MCCAA and Tax Compliance Unit enforcement. Reduction in VAT rate to help retail and tourism. MaMVO fees support for healthcare importers.
Extend credit for payment on excise duties for wines and spirits.
Subsidise salaries to reduce layoffs. Reduction in utilities prices to reflect market prices.
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In August, the Malta Chamber submitted a paper reacting to the Consultation Paper published by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life dated 28th February 2020; titled Towards the Regulation of Lobbying in Malta. The paper reflected The Malta Chamber’s views on: 1. The introduction of a Transparency Register for Ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and the heads and deputy heads of their secretariats, setting out details of their contacts with lobbyists. 2. The introduction of a Register of Lobbyists, with provisions to submit regular returns about lobbying activities, defining who falls under the definition, with terms and conditions to make it accessible to the public. 3. A Code of Conduct for politicians, public officials and lobbyists which effectively regulates the relevant communications on relevant matters of policy. The consultation ‘Towards the Regulation of Lobbying in Malta’ by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life is a key component of the puzzle which should lead our country along the road map with a wider good governance reform, so much so that it addressed 11 measures proposed by The Malta Chamber in the Good Governance Manifesto published last January, accounting to approximately 18 per cent of the recommendations presented to Government. The Malta Chamber acknowledged that the work done by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life demonstrates a serious and significant commitment to introduce transparent, ethical, and professional standards in lobbying activities, towards igniting more confidence in the general public and subsequently helping our country’s reputation.
We put forward several recommendations to Government on behalf of several industry clusters to ensure that jobs are not lost, loss in turnover is supported, loan burdens are alleviated and a re-engineered business framework for the future addresses shortcomings we have been delaying decision upon as a country for too long.
COVID RESPONSE SUPPORT The Malta Chamber was aware from the outset that these unprecedented times necessitate a multi-faceted effort to support members on several levels. We felt we had an even more important role to play towards keeping our policy makers in check on behalf of our members and the business community.
The department joined efforts with our policy team, who were leading the recovery process to support over 70 members on tapping Malta Enterprise schemes announced by Government during the mini-budget and provided 20 points of industry cluster feedback to the policy team as part of the daily reach out to members within various clusters.
The Malta Chamber remained in constant contact with members of the business community from the outset of the pandemic and was cognisant of the difficulties they are facing.
The department adapted a flexible collaborative approach to ensure that Malta Chamber resources are best placed to be as agile as possible, adapting to a pandemic aftermath in a resilient and sustainable way.
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MONEYVAL RECOMMENDATIONS The Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section established and led a forum with the aim of bringing together players in the financial services sector, to present a unified voice and support Government in navigating the Moneyval evaluation. The forum was composed of The Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section, the Malta Bankers Association, the Chamber of Advocates, the Malta Institute of Accountants, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and the Malta Institute of Taxation. The forum drafted and presented a document titled ‘Recommendations for the Moneyval Assessment’. Recommendations included a call for a clear communication strategy to report on unambiguous progress achieved in updating Malta’s regulatory infrastructure relating to Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism as well as the Rule of Law. While acknowledging the legislative and regulatory work conducted thus far, The Malta Chamber also proposed the appointment of one technical, apolitical national spokesperson on Moneyval related matters. The individual, who would enjoy widespread respect and credibility, would be able to communicate
developments and improvements being registered by Government on the subject in a clear, albeit technical manner. The Malta Chamber’s President informed the Prime Minister that success cannot be achieved by Government acting alone or by pointing fingers towards one sector or another, it can only be achieved by having an effective unified effort. The Forum which represents the Financial Services Industry offered its full cooperation, with the ultimate aim of making the Moneyval experience an opportunity to seek further success for the country. The Malta Chamber, as Malta’s foremost guardian of the country’s competitiveness, has taken it upon itself to lead this concerted effort, and put its resources at its disposal, to help obtain a favourable outcome for Malta. The Malta Chamber President went on to say that once the assessment is concluded, all efforts are kept in place to maintain the highest of standards. Lessons must be learnt through this ordeal, and through constant proactive action and keeping transparency a priority. FEEDBACK ON THE NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT 2050 The Malta Chamber submitted its recommendations for the public consultation on the National Strategy for the Environment
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2050. It did so based on an underlying understanding that wellbeing and quality of life should be the end result of a strong economy, and that in turn, they also feed into economic success. Globally, the pursuit of wellbeing as a pillar of political policy is gaining ground, though it is not a new concept. As far back as 1998, the Prime Minister of Bhutan introduced the idea of Gross National Happiness to the United Nations. Countries like the United Kingdom have begun attempting to measure wellbeing as a national objective, while last year, New Zealand released the world’s first “wellbeing budget”. The Malta Chamber has therefore welcomed Government’s recognition of this ideal, while recommending a broadening of the National Strategy’s scope to include social factors such as mental health, while recognising the value added to Malta’s product and economy and the wellbeing of its people from protection not only of its environment, but its cultural assets and heritage as well. By emphasizing the need for quality over quantity, touching on a number of key issues and offering to be a key stakeholder for the implementation of the strategy, The Malta Chamber firmly believes that this is the first step being taken in the right direction. REPORT ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT REFORM 2021 The Malta Chamber is vociferous in its call to represent ethical business across Malta and Gozo. Public procurement represents an important component of business opportunities for economic operators in Malta; it must be done properly and with respect to the law. All economic operators must be on the same level playing field when tendering for Government purchasing opportunities and such procurement exercises must be accessible to all eligible economic operators, free from impropriety and in compliance with the law. No distortions of the market should be tolerated by contracting authorities. In 2020, The Malta Chamber held a high-level meeting with Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar and Director of Administration at the Department of Contracts Oreste Cassar to discuss the challenges economic operators were having in relation to public procurement in Malta and to discuss various Government initiatives which were in the process of being implemented. Following this high-level meeting, The Malta Chamber decided to embark on an exercise to identify proposals aimed at improving public procurement in Malta from multiple facets.
The Malta Chamber set up a working group formed by individuals representing economic operators that have different levels of experience submitting tenders across different industry sectors. The Malta Chamber invited Dr Clement Mifsud Bonnici (Ganado Advocates) to form part of this Working Group and to take the lead in the drafting of this Report. The Working Group was composed of Roderick Abela, Julia Aquilina, Liz Barbaro Sant, Anton Borg, Maronna Filletti, Mary Gaerty and Marcel K. Mifsud. The key recommendations proposed were as follows: 1. Blacklisting - Public Authorities, the Department of Contracts and the Inland Revenue Department should create systems of seamless integration which would automatically prevent an economic operator from submitting a bid if there are pending social security and tax dues and if there is no settlement agreement in place. 2. Performance of Public Contracts - The Malta Chamber recommended that the potential of this resource, the Contract Register, is maximised by keeping tabs on the status of a public contract whether any payments were made, whether any specific milestones have been reached by the contractor and whether any disputes have been submitted to judicial resolution or arbitration. 3. Modifications and Variations to Public Contracts - The Malta Chamber recommended that the Contract Register is designed to show any historic modifications to public contracts, including a record that necessary approvals have been obtained and a summary of the justification. The Malta Chamber also recommends that the time limit to publish such modifications is reduced from six months to three months; with a view to shorten this timeperiod in years to come. The Malta Chamber further recommends that no archiving is done of past tenders and opened tender details on ePPS. The Malta Chamber intends to fiercely advocate for the implementation of the reforms proposed in this Report, but more importantly, The Malta Chamber intends to maintain an open and constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders on the future of public procurement in Malta so that the proposed recommendations can be adapted to the ever-changing landscape of Malta’s economy.
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POLICY COMMITTEES BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION With the support of Engel & Völkers, and chaired by Benjamin Grech, the committee has set out the goal of improving the building and construction sector in Malta by creating a sixmonth Action Plan. The committee has been working on a Building Owners’ Manual and will shortly be launching it for public consumption. Its objective would allow for consistent and standardised collection of data across owners of the same property over time. The committee has been involved in providing feedback to Government on reports and legislation such as the Building and Construction Authority Act. Since its inception, the Committee has held a close collaboration with the Kamra Tal-Periti and is looking forward to working with other key stakeholders. CIRCULAR ECONOMY The Circular Economy Committee, supported by PT Matic, held its first meeting on 2nd September 2020, established with Oliver Fenech as Chairman. The committee holds the objective of formulating and submitting policy proposals to the authorities on Circular Economy, promoting dialogue and supporting businesses in initiatives directed towards eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.
Over the past year, the committee has continued to grow and today is composed of established professionals in industry coming from diverse areas within the environmental domain, including servicing, contracting, consultancy, etc. We have managed to engage in thought-provoking discussions on some very specific challenges faced by the country and put forward proposals including on the ‘Waste Management Plan for the Maltese Islands 2021-2030’, ‘Waste Management (Landfill) (Amendment) Regulations’, ‘Construction Waste - Ideas, Potential Projects, and Way Forward’ and ‘Low Carbon Development Strategy’ amongst others. The committee will continue to put forward ideas and proposals for the purpose of influencing factors concerning the Circular Economy while supporting private initiatives directed towards a green and sustainable economy, understanding its connection with wellbeing and quality of life. EDUCATION Backed by the EIE Institute, the committee has hit the ground running in drafting its Terms of Reference and working plan, while meeting with stakeholders to develop three priority areas. The first priority area concerns the future of education in Malta, with a long-term view in mind. The second concerns Vocational and Educational Training (VET), and the third
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ENERGY EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Committee was set up on 14th September 2020 with Patrick Spiteri Staines as chairman, and supported by T4B Services. The committee is underpinned by the common objective of decarbonisation, to ‘Reduce CO2 emissions for Malta across the board’. Since its foundation, the committee has held meetings to establish its priority areas. In practice, the overall objective translates into a drive to educate the public and industry stakeholders on best practices in energy efficiency and conservation, as well as addressing standards and legislation, research and innovation and to improve and revise incentives for projects. For each of these areas, the committee has discussed subtopics while networking and discussing with Government and stakeholders, with the aim of working in parallel where possible to get results in the shortest time. Consulting and discussing with entities such as the Malta Business Bureau, the Environment and Resources Authority, the Energy and Water Agency, the Building and Construction Agency and Malta Enterprise, the committee will continue to promote the costeffective decarbonisation of Malta through energy efficiency and conservation, linking sustainability goals with business sense.
focus area is the up-skilling and re-skilling of the workforce. By covering these broad areas across different time brackets, the committee hopes to ensure that Malta is best prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. In covering these cross-sectional areas, the committee hopes to ensure that Malta’s current and future workforce is best prepared to fully participate in the workplace. HR & TALENT The Malta Chamber restructured its Human Resources and Talent Committee with the support of RSM, chaired by Fabianne Ruggier. During the past year, the committee developed an action plan based on Policy Representation, Members’ Support and Awareness and Education and remained invested in providing the Board of Management and Council with valued advice. Furthermore, members of the committee have met with different Ministries to discuss various concerns that were raised by our membership.
FAMILY BUSINESS Supported by BNF Bank and chaired by Maria Micallef, the committee has revamped its vision and objectives to be able to better cater to the needs of family-owned businesses in their endeavours to succeed and prosper. The committee has a close relationship with the Family Business Unit through the active participation of Dr Joe Gerada. The Committee intends to finalise a programme of action and events in the coming weeks once it analyses the feedback from a recently launched survey. HEALTH & WELLNESS Set up in July 2020, chaired by Catherine Calleja and sponsored by Atlas Insurance, the committee is made up of varied individuals with complementary skill sets and an interest in wellness from large to smaller organisations. Key themes being addressed by the committee include resilience and organisation culture, work-life balance, gender burden sharing, health and safety, mental health services in Malta as well as corporate wellness programmes. Two key events were organised during the period of July to December 2020. The first,
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held in October, was a Benchmarking Session on Culture and Resilience during COVID-19. It was addressed by key speakers to bring context to the discussion. Participants were divided into working groups to come up with recommendations for employers and Government. During the second event in December, representatives of the Manufacturing Economic Group were addressed by the COVID-19 Public Health Response Team, which was followed by a Q&A to address their particular sector’s issues in an attempt to build a closer relationship with the health authorities and understand the principles of contact tracing and quarantine. An intended outcome was to ensure that standards are high enough at work to minimise any loss of labour hours following cases of employees or their contacts being tested positive. A paper has been prepared with key recommendations for employers and for Government following both events. The committee has engaged with the Commissioner for Equality about particular wellness issues related to gender. It has looked at burden sharing and is issuing a paper on the same subject. It has also engaged with the CEO of the OHSA and discussed risk assessment obligations for employers with a particular focus on mental health, especially during this stressful time. The subjects of the provision of mental health services and corporate wellness programmes are also being addressed in the coming meetings. Two further events are being planned in May and July 2021. SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY The Sustainable Mobility committee was set up by a broad range of stakeholders from across the industry, bringing their expertise around the table to forge common solutions for Malta’s challenges and opportunities in transportation. Chaired by Konrad Pulé and sponsored by Malta Public Transport, the committee is finding common ground on a number of pressing issues, such as making it more attractive for businesses and consumers to purchase and use cleaner vehicles, improvements in infrastructure to increase the efficiency of mobility, and facilitating the way people can move around in a sustainable manner with as many travel options as possible. With representation from both academia and business, the committee will be establishing relationships with different stakeholders and Government to get things moving, so that Malta may arrive at its desired destination in good time. The committee believes in equity, and thrives from its broad representation, which matches its vision for sustainable mobility.
QUALITY As stated by committee chair Christopher Busuttil, quality is perhaps one of the most abused and misunderstood words of our time. At its core, quality is a mindset to meet and exceed expectations. Therefore, the starting point is always to understand and subsequently manage any expectation. One can therefore define quality in its broadest terms as ‘exceeding customer expectations’. This puts the customer as the sole assessor of quality, as it should be. The first goal as a Quality Committee was to devise a framework that helps to create a common understanding of what quality is, and why it matters. Financial reporting has become incredibly detailed and business analytics have taken centre stage in every boardroom to make datadriven decisions at the fastest pace possible. This scenario however falls short of offering a holistic standing of the company. New tools are coming onto the market that actually assist in turning non-financial information into data that can be used as knowledge. A second goal for the Committee was to research and better understand these technological solutions. It is this understanding that will give any person, organisation or nation the edge in a post-COVID era. How will customers identify between so many offerings that will be flooding the market to try and regain lost ground? In brief, this is the mission of The Quality Committee within The Malta Chamber. The Quality Committee is sponsored by Evolve.
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ECONOMIC GROUPS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS IMPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS ECONOMIC GROUP Mr Marcel K. Mifsud – Chairperson Mr Anthony Tabone – Deputy Chairperson Mr Reginald Fava Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo Mr Charles A. Zahra MANUFACTURERS AND OTHER INDUSTRIES ECONOMIC GROUP Mr Joseph Pace – Chairperson Mr Nicholas Xuereb – Deputy Chairperson Mr Patrick Cachia Mr Ruben Cuschieri Mr Matthias Fauser Ms Marisa Xuereb
SERVICES PROVIDERS ECONOMIC GROUP Mr Matthew E. Sullivan – Chairperson Ms Liz Barbaro Sant – Deputy Chairperson Mr Ian Casolani Mr Marcel Cutajar Dr Alison Vassallo
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ECONOMIC GROUPS IMPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS ECONOMIC GROUP
The Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group (IDREG) met on nine occasions throughout the year under review. The executive board elected in April 2019 is composed of Marcel Mifsud as Chair and further made up of Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Anthony Tabone, Andrew W. J. Mamo, Reginald Fava and Charles Zahra, with Charles Borg coopted to the board. The following issues were discussed during the year under review. • The COVID-19 pandemic and impact on the sector • Assistance schemes to the sector • New developments in the sector • Abuse in free movement of goods and parallel trading • Excise duties • Brexit COVID-19 During the year under review, the executive board focused on representing the interests and needs of the sector by submitting feedback and inputs to all the Chamber’s major documents this year. A number of proposals were made over 2020 including a) Implementing laws on rent for force majeure, b) access to finance and minimise collateral for MDB Loan; c) keeping Malta’s ports open safely, d) offer a level playing field in taxation and enforce existing regulations, e) ensure practical and flexible employment of TCNs, f) ensure accessibility to retail destinations and g) launch a national campaign of reassurance for consumers. Meet your Economic Group sessions As part of their on-boarding process, new members from the Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Sector were introduced to the team behind The Malta Chamber as they explained how the various services on offer will give them value as members of Malta’s foremost business representative body. The Chairman, Mr Marcel Mifsud, delivered a presentation about the work being carried out by the Economic Group and the respective business sections. The Chair urged all the new members to form part and to actively participate in the Chamber’s internal committees and structures. Proposals to extend Black Friday The Importers, Retailers and Distributors
Economic Group (IDREG), representing business in the retail sector, called for an extension of Black Friday sales proceedings over a number of days, and over extended opening times, to spread out the risk of overcrowding in the country’s shopping spots. IDREG proposed that Black Friday and the sales associated with it in 2020 should be extended from one day, to take place between the 26th and 29th November so as to avoid a rush to the shops. Businesses were also encouraged to take their trade online, by extending the same offers to their digital shops, for the benefit and convenience of all. The IDREG had also reached out to a number of key retail operators and shopping malls, and all agreed that this proposal was in the best health and economic interest of all involved. The Chair of the Malta Chamber’s IDREG executive board, Mr Mifsud, said that Black Friday was an important appointment in the retail business calendar as it provides businesses with an essential boost in an otherwise calm period. In the circumstances, it was important that all necessary precautions were put in place in order for Black Friday to be both a commercial success for businesses, but also a safe experience for everyone. Establishment of a new Retail working group During the year under review, the need was felt to establish a new retail working group which would continue the excellent work carried out during the summer months by an established Retail Round Table made up of retailers from different segments. The Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group within The Malta Chamber has agreed that there is a need for better representation on behalf of the Retail Sector within our structure. At the time of writing, the working group was being established and initial meetings were being held which will eventually lead to the establishment of a new business section. The focus of the new group was to represent the retail segment with the authorities and to bring to the fore the main issues and challenges being faced by the industry whilst providing input to the authorities on how to assist the Industry to move up the value chain. HEALTHCARE BUSINESS SECTION The HealthCare Executive Committee maintained a strong channel of communication
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with Government for effective navigation of the pandemic, and to ensure that the concerns of the industry were heard throughout these trying times. Following its first year, the committee interchanged the Chair and Deputy Chair positions. Numerous meetings were held throughout the period, including meetings with all the members as well as with various Government entities. In addition, the committee drafted a proposal on the Legislative Amendments to Cover Pre-COVID Defaults in Execution of Contracts, which was presented to Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Fearne. Last December the section gave a presentation at Central Procurement and Supplies Unit’s annual conference that highlighted the expressed concerns of its members and made several suggested improvements to the tendering and procurement processes currently in place, with the aim of fairer, more transparent and more efficient systems moving forward. WINES, SPIRITS, BEVERAGES & TOBACCO BUSINESS SECTION The primary focus of the Wines, Spirits, Beverages & Tobacco Executive Committee has been on the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. The pandemic took its toll on businesses in
the sector, both in terms of turnover as well as cash flow, as a result of the difficulties faced by HORECA outlets. The committee put forward recommendations that were designed to help the sector be more resilient during this period; these recommendations included the deferment of excise duties and an extension of credit terms and a request that the businesses within the section be treated fairly and given access to the full benefit of the wage supplement scheme Government introduced.
MANUFACTURERS AND OTHER INDUSTRIES ECONOMIC GROUP
During the year under review, the Manufacturing and Other Industries Economic Group (MEG) met on 10 occasions. The executive board saw some changes including Mr Joseph Pace being appointed as Chairman in Mr Patrick Cachia’s stead. The executive board was further composed of the afore mentioned Patrick Cachia, Marisa Xuereb, Matthias Fauser, Nicholas Xuereb and Ruben Cuschieri with Brian Muscat and Doreen Cutrona co-opted to the board. COVID-19 During 2020, the executive board worked tirelessly to represent the interests of the
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manufacturing stakeholders with all major stakeholders. Some of the manufacturing group representatives were also involved directly in consultation meetings when The Malta Chamber was preparing its first stimulus package for the economy (April 2020), recommendations for a renewed stimulus package (June 2020), The Malta Chamber’s Think tank exporters and manufacturing round tables reports (June-July 2020) and the Chamber’s pre-budget proposals (AugustSeptember 2020). The manufacturing sector was very active in making key proposals such as a) establish a new vision for manufacturing in Malta – cluster granular approach, b) establish a formalised stage-lifting approach, c) incentivise digital smart manufacturing, d) support related to hyper retreat from hyperglobalisation, e) introduce an education for Industry 4.0 mind-set, f) reduce bureaucracy and g) introduce effective Government incentives on recurrent and utility costs to name a few. Meetings with Malta Enterprise CEO and relevant Ministries During the year, the executive board met the Malta Enterprise CEO Mr Kurt Farrugia and other Malta Enterprise officials on numerous occasions. The discussions with Malta Enterprise revolved on the following items:
1. Order books in manufacturing 2. Energy tariffs 3. Increased sick leave and absenteeism in the sector 4. Extra day of leave for those public holidays that fall on a weekend 5. Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) 6. Employment of Third Country Nationals 7. Sick leave 8. Export guarantee scheme 9. Medium term outlook – September/October 10. Logistics hub 11. Continuation of Make It campaign The Manufacturing Economic Group also held meetings with the Minister for the Economy and Industry, Hon. Silvio Schembri and the newly appointed Minster for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development, Hon. Miriam Dalli, in which assistance to the manufacturing sector was discussed. During these meetings, it was also agreed to hold a dialogue session with both ministers to discuss the state of the manufacturing sector in Malta. Furthermore, in November, the MEG Chair accompanied a Chamber delegation led by The Malta Chamber President, Perit David Xuereb, to a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Hon. Chris Fearne and Superintendent for Public Health, Dr
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Charmaine Gauci. This meeting was intended to establish a priority testing centre for people working in manufacturing plants. Dialogue session on the state of Industry in Malta On 27th November, the MEG group organised an online dialogue session with the participation of Hon. Silvio Schembri, Hon. Miriam Dalli and Mr Kurt Farrugia, as attendees had an opportunity to ask questions related to their sector. The event was open exclusively for members of The Malta Chamber from the Manufacturing sector. Mr Pace, Chair of the MEG executive committee said that the manufacturing sector was a crucial mainstay of the Maltese economy, and all parties needed to make sure to do all possible to guarantee its permanence. Mr Pace said that “even at a time of crisis, the manufacturing sector provided an anchor for the Maltese economy as for many months it was the only sector which continued to provide stability, and employment for thousands.” He explained that support towards the manufacturing sector should be prioritised to not only deal with the issues that COVID-19 has created, but to emerge stronger than ever after the pandemic. When addressing the Q&A session, Minister for the Economy and Industry, Hon. Silvio Schembri, remarked that besides labour, the biggest challenge for the industry was the lack of infrastructure and the scarcity of industrial facilities and space. This is why the Government had launched the biggest industrial infrastructural investment programme in our country’s history, which shall give a competitive edge to our firms and lower operating costs considerably. Minister Hon. Schembri added that the inclusion of the Lands’ Authority within this Ministry will accelerate the implementation of the €470 million industrial infrastructure investment programme. Minister Hon. Schembri added that education and training are key for both current workforce and future generations. Minister Hon. Miriam Dalli said the setting up of the new Ministry for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development was a clear indication of Government’s vision in taking the country forward. The Chamber has been a strong voice in advocating for smart thinking and ensuring sustainable solutions. She was convinced that together, the country can come up with innovative responses to address today’s challenges.
The event offered the exclusive opportunity to Malta Chamber members to ask questions and get answers directly from the country’s highest authorities in their respective field. Attendants were also addressed by the President of The Malta Chamber Perit David Xuereb, CEO Ing. Edward Chetcuti and Head of Policy Andre Fenech. MEDICAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY BUSINESS SECTION The Medical Cannabis Industry (MCI) Business Section and Executive Committee within The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry was established on 3rd November 2020 with the objective to represent the interests of all operators engaged in this industry and offer experience, knowledge and guidance to Government entities, thereby ensuring that Malta remains an attractive, reputable and competitive jurisdiction for investment in this sector. The MCI Executive Committee has since managed to successfully put its members’ concerns and recommendations high on Government’s agenda. The Executive Committee represented by its then Chairman Robert Spiteri and Deputy Chairman Adrian Azzopardi has, within a short period of time,
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held a high-level introductory meeting with Minister Hon. Silvio Schembri, Minister Hon. Miriam Dalli, Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista and representatives from Malta Enterprise and the Malta Medicines Authority to highlight difficulties operators within the industry were encountering and propose recommendations to address these concerns. Regular tri-partite meetings between MCI, MMA and ME to discuss and find mutually agreeable solutions were scheduled to be held in the future. Additional formal as well as informal virtual meetings and conversations were held with the industry’s regulatory body, the MMA, represented by the authority’s Chairman Anthony Serracino Inglott and Director Luana Mifsud Azzopardi. On 12th January, a previously scheduled tri-partite meeting with ME and MMA (in absentia), was held with the MCI current Chairman Chris Busuttil Delbridge and Deputy Chairman Adrian Azzopardi. The MCI Business Section Executive Committee (MCI) notes with satisfaction that many of the challenges and recommendations have been acknowledged and acted upon by the respective Government stakeholders. The
applications for a licence in accordance with the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act has been updated (CAN002/03) by the MMA thereby facilitating better understanding, clarifying anomalies and initiating processes such as a due diligence exercise in advance in an attempt to reduce processing time. Proposals for the reduction of fees and contributions have been forwarded by the ME and MMA respectively for consideration by the MCI. The appointment of a case officer for each manufacturer seems to be also addressed. A previously pending licence for laboratory testing has been granted to ASG Pharma Ltd, thereby ensuring a testing facility is easily accessible to all local producers. The shortage of pesticide testing facilities is being closely looked at by Government stakeholders and there seems to be the necessary will and drive to resolve this issue too. The MCI will endeavour to continue offering assistance and support to Government stakeholders, the industry and its members, thereby ensuring that Malta maintains its pole position as an attractive jurisdiction for success to current and future investors in the Medicinal Cannabis industry.
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SERVICES PROVIDERS ECONOMIC GROUP
The Services Providers Economic Group (SPEG) met on five occasions throughout the year. The new executive board is composed of Matthew Sullivan as Chairman with the executive board further composed of Hugh Arrigo, Elisabeth Barbaro Sant, Alison Vassallo, Marcel Cutajar and Ian Casolani. Mr Hugh Arrigo resigned from all his Chamber positions in August 2020. The SPEG continued holding quarterly meetings with all the different Chairs of the Business Section falling under the Economic Group to better represent the sectoral interests of the individual sectors.
Meeting your Economic Group session During the year under review, the SPEG organised a number of sessions for new Malta Chamber members. During these online and physical activities, the Group Chair, Mr Sullivan, explained in great detail the work being carried out by the SPEG executive and more importantly the established new business sections forming part of the largest economic group within the Malta Chamber, representing close to 60 per cent of total membership. He explained that the services industry was varied and ranging from sectors such as financial services and Information and Communication Technology to care homes, shipping and yachting services. FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESS SECTION This year, the Financial Services Business Committee gave importance to a number of areas addressing key challenges faced by the industry. The committee was the promoter and driver of the Moneyval Forum established with the aim of bringing together players in the financial services sector to present a unified voice on the matter and support Government ahead of the upcoming Moneyval evaluation. The forum was led by The Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section and composed of the Malta Bankers Association, the Chamber of Advocates, the Malta Institute of Accountants, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners, and the Malta Institute of Taxation. Together, a document was prepared and titled ‘Recommendations for the Moneyval Assessment’, which included several proposals and recommendations for a clear communication strategy and course of action planning beyond the Moneyval result. The report was also presented to the Prime Minister by the Forum in July 2020. Members of the Committee also took part in the Think Tank Finance Round Table, which focused on how several sectors will be impacted by COVID-19 and what the desired state could be in two years with respect to resilience, sustainability, agility, quality of service, value, governance, competitiveness, and opportunities for growth. Furthermore, keeping in mind the need for drivers for positive change, the topics of human resources, regulation, ESG, technology, access to banking, taxation, reputation and strategic vision were also addressed. These will help The Malta Chamber become even more valuable to its members. The committee is also actively discussing the issue of Malta having a US Correspondent Bank and held discussions with both Government and banking officials. It is in the process of
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setting a meeting with the MFSA, together with MUBE and MBA, to discuss this matter further. VIRTUAL FINANCIAL ASSETS (VFA) AGENTS BUSINESS SECTION Over the past year, the VFA Agents Executive Committee has been very busy in forwarding well-documented and researched feedback to various authorities on the difficulties faced by stakeholders operating within the VFA regulatory framework in Malta. The committee was active in providing feedback to Government, beginning with that which was sent on 6th January 2020 in reply to the circular the MFSA issued on 10th December 2019, regarding Chapter 3 VFA rules changes. Following meetings with the MFSA in April 2020 and with Clayton Bartolo on 11th May 2020, the committee then forwarded a full technical document on the proposed changes to the VFA framework to them. Subsequently, on 23rd June 2020, the MFSA issued a circular informing that the Supervisory Fees for VFA agents had been postponed to December 2020. The committee wrote to the MFSA and Clayton Bartolo informing them that this was not acceptable for stakeholders. On 6th August 2020, the MFSA issued a circular calling for cooperation from VFA Agents to have VFA licences approved by MFSA. The committee replied to both the MFSA and Hon. Bartolo on 10th August 2020, giving them the committee’s views as to why this was happening.
The committee wrote officially to all relevant authorities on 9th October 2020 proposing the setting up of a MiCA taskforce, MiCA being the upcoming EU regulation on crypto assets. In December 2020, the committee forwarded feedback to the EU Commission on the first draft of the MiCA EU regulation. The committee then spent the last week of 2020 preparing a situation report of the VFA framework with suggestions for its improvement locally, which was forwarded on 29th January 2021 to Hon. Clyde Caruana, Minister for Finance and Employment. CARE HOME OPERATORS BUSINESS SECTION The Care Home Operators Executive Committee, chaired by Natalie Briffa Farrugia, came into operation during 2020. The committee represented the interests of its members to push for assistance required as a result of the fight against COVID-19. All operators incurred higher costs from the beginning of the pandemic, doing everything possible to prevent the virus from entering the care homes. The committee established itself with its Ministry, the Active Ageing Department and the Social Care Standards Authority, pushing to secure the industry a place in funding schemes, given that no criteria which had until then been established through the Wage Supplement Schemes included care home operators. This proved a successful venture since in July 2020, Government announced that a fund would be allocated to help all care home service providers on
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the island, including the care homes run by Government and SVPR. The committee acted to prevent the implementation of a legal notice which would have set the industry back at the end of the lockdown. It was not, however, before September 2020 which saw a major outbreak in one of the care homes. Until then, care homes had been instructed by Government to keep patients in the homes, so as not to overwhelm hospitals. Operators were asked to ‘triage’ within the homes, which was not feasible and did not put the patients first. Due to pressure by the committee, Government stepped in to provide medical assistance to the homes and patients could be cared for in specially dedicated facilities. Maintaining a close relationship with Government during the change of Minister in November 2020, the committee made its case to Minister Hon. Michael Farrugia, to collaborate closely on the rollout of the vaccines, which were still on the horizon at the time. Since then, however, the committee has had to prepare itself to once again apply pressure on the vaccines issue, to ensure the best interests and safety of its residents are upheld during vaccine rollout. The committee also carried out a campaign in each care home to encourage vaccine uptake by residents and staff. As COVID-19 has entered its third phase, care homes are once again under great pressure, and the committee has taken up the task of organising the sector to receive the appropriate support from Government. In doing so, care home operators will remain equipped to shield their patients and continue to provide the highest standards of care. YACHTING SERVICES BUSINESS SECTION In 2020, the Yachting Services Executive Committee navigated the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on the sector. Throughout the year, constant communication was maintained with the authorities, such as Transport Malta and Customs, and proposals were discussed relating to the entry of yachts during the pandemic and measures that can be taken during the peak season to ensure the market remains competitive. During the pandemic, the committee also met with Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci to discuss and present its proposals. TOURISM BUSINESS SECTION Earlier last year, the Committee presented its document ‘A Healthy Tourism Sector’ to The Ministry of Tourism and Consumer Protection
and the Malta Tourism Authority. Soon after the pandemic hit, and the committee found itself in deep waters, it re-evaluated its agenda for the year ahead. In its quest to ensure that the committee kept in touch with the relevant authorities, and to ensure that its interests were met, the committee continued its meetings with the Minister. The committee further provided MBB with its feedback on the VAT Travel Agent Scheme and held various meetings with its European counterparts to look after the interests of the sector more effectively. More recently, the committee held a meeting with the new Minister of Tourism and Consumer Protection Hon. Clayton Bartolo, and presented its recommendations, in line with The Malta Chamber’s Vision to create a national and holistic vision of tourism based on quality experiences, while keeping in mind the importance of its short-term measures.
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LOGISTICS BUSINESS SECTION The Logistics Business Section teamed up with other Business Sections of The Malta Chamber and other Associations making up the wider Transport, Logistics and Port services as a focus group in response to the COVID-19 crisis at the beginning of the pandemic. The objective of the focus group was to ensure a continued supply of essential transport service to Malta during the crisis, by: 1. Addressing the operational barriers resulting from the epidemic locally and in our overseas transport networks. 2. Responding to the already severe financial crisis that is directly hitting our industry, and which is expected to intensify in the coming months. 3. Safeguarding the industry and the survival of the people who work within it. This concerted effort led by Matthew Sullivan, the Chair of the Services Economic Group, provided recommendations to Government to mitigate the sector, throughout the pandemic.
The Logistics Business Section also initiated discussions with Transport Malta on the Hubbing Project and a new charging structure on 10th September 2020. This was followed by a meeting with Hon. Silvio Schembri, then Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, and Kurt Farrugia, CEO, Malta Enterprise on 9th October 2020 on the same subject. The Minister informed the committee that information on hubbing was to be issued soon. ICT BUSINESS SECTION The Tech Executive Committee continued to invest its efforts in working with Government to progress the Tech.MT initiative and address its defined objectives. Tech.MT was officially launched on 25th March 2019 and the committee has since maintained its assistance for the foundation. It has continued to do so through the identification of objectives, providing feedback from industry and by drafting its business plan, all beyond the initial set-up of its infrastructure.
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INTER NATIONAL ISATION
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IRC & BCS This year saw the transformation of the Projects & Internationalisation Department which was integrated with the new Policy and Members Relation Department. This coincided with the retirement of Lino Mintoff who previously headed the Internationalisation Department. During 2020, despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Relations Council endeavoured to bring some projects to fruition. These included the strengthening of closer ties with the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce through the signing of a collaboration agreement; and the signing of a co-operation agreement with the Rwanda Private Sector Federation to build a collaborative relationship with this fast-growing sub-Saharan country. Moreover, the Malta Chamber signed a cooperation agreement with the Women’s India Chamber of Commerce and Industry through the Malta affiliate branch. Ongoing discussions are being held to strengthen the collaboration with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The German-Maltese Business Council and the Maltese-Turkish Business Council kept their regular meetings by teleconferencing to plan their post-COVID-19 forthcoming events and projects.
DS4AIR ERASMUS+ In April, the Malta Chamber joined a project bid led by Malta under ERASMUS+ entitled DS4AIR, aimed at facilitating re-skilling through the design, development and
In November, the Malta Chamber launched an Import/Export Internationalisation survey to gauge interest of our members on internationalisation activity after the outbreak of the pandemic. The exercise provided a picture of our members’ general inclination on import and export activities, providing valuable data for the Malta Chamber to identify areas of support and corresponding action required to be embarked on in conjunction with our Private Public Partnership, TradeMalta. The three main countries which were identified as mostly attractive for import were UK, Germany and Turkey, while the three most attractive for export are Italy, UK and Algeria. The survey conducted in November updates information obtained from a previous internationalisation survey across all economic group members, which took place a year ago.
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evaluation of an online training course on digital skills for future-proof career paths.
platforms, targeting international markets and executed directly or through an agency.
In September, the European Commission granted the approval of the project, with the Malta Chamber required to organise the first intellectual output of the project, which was a webinar entitled The AI Revolution: A Reality or Myth? addressing the impact of Artificial Intelligence applications on human resources, which took place in December.
Investment in staff training in digital marketing – including standard or customised courses in social media, search engines, on-line campaigns and other skills useful for digital marketing.
The webinar, which was well attended with international participation included, asked whether Artificial Intelligence is all a hype or whether it is truly streamlining many human resources processes into automated processes. It also delved into decisions that HR departments will need to take, amongst which, the re-skilling of vulnerable adult employees with various levels of digital competences. Earlier this year, the Malta Chamber claimed its advance payment from a total of €79,458 which will be received by 2023.
THEMATIC WEBINARS 13th July 2020: Kickstarting AI in Industry The Malta Chamber in collaboration with Core AI organised the second in a series of AI webinars led by Professor Alexiei Dingli, presenting concrete examples of how the concept of Industry 4.0 can be put into practice by industry. The event was aimed at managers and executives who are still unsure about how they can harness the potential of AI for their organisation. 31st July 2020: COVID-19 Export Response Scheme The Malta Chamber, in collaboration with TradeMalta, organised an informative webinar session on this scheme which Government entrusted our Public Private Partner TradeMalta to implement. The scheme consists of: Support to mitigate the impact of cancelled international trade events – up to 80 per cent refund on cancelled trade events that had approval from TradeMalta Execution of digital marketing campaigns – including direct advertising on search engines as well as direct advertising on social media
Participation in on-line trade fairs – reimbursement of up to a maximum of 50 per cent of eligible costs, capped at a maximum of €10,000 in grant value. 29th September 2020: Sharing Maltese Best Practices in Manufacturing The Malta Chamber organised the third session in the series of tech webinars about how to become an AI-enabled company, targeting the manufacturing industry. The talk by Alexiei Dingli and Foadd Haddod covered best practices related to the implementation of Artificial Intelligence within the framework of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, with a major emphasis on Intelligent Digital Twin technologies and how this technology can be adopted within a smart manufacturing environment. This session offered managers, chief technology officers and executives the possibility to understand how these technologies are used to capture and process data for effective real-time decision-making. 27th October 2020: Making Best Use of Free Trade Agreements for International Business The webinar explained how international trade agreements offer a golden opportunity to companies that wish to internationalise competitively and to find new market opportunities outside of the EU. Jan Micallef, who is our International Relations Council expert on the topic, explained how SMEs are seldom aware of the benefits and mechanisms that these instruments offer to reduce costs. This online event targeted CEOs, General Managers, Directors and Business Development Managers of SMEs who wish to learn more about these agreements and who are considering growing their business activity, mainly by exporting goods or providing services to non-EU countries.
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RELATIONS WITH DIPLOMATIC CORPS
Diplomatic Meetings April 2020 – March 2021 9 June 2020
Meeting with Ronald Micallef, Malta’s Representative to the African Union
15 June 2020 Meeting with Theresa Cutajar, Ambassador Designate for Turkey
15 December 2020 Meeting with Malta Ambassador to UAE Maria Calleja Camilleri to discuss future collaboration with Abu Dhabi 16 December 2020 Meeting with Minister Hon. Evarist Bartolo and Ezgi Harmanci, Chair MTBC
17 June 2020 Digital Health DMEA Brokerage Event – Virtual Meeting
19 January 2021
24 June 2020 Meeting with Daniela Gusman, prospective Honorary Consul for Lesotho
20 January 2021 Meeting with UK High Commissioner Katherine Ward and Michael Howes
24 June 2020 Meeting with Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs regarding Trade Diplomacy priorities
21 January 2021
26 June 2020 Meeting with Federation of Russia Ambasssador Malygin 9 July 2020 Meeting with Christopher Cutajar, Perm Sec MFEA to discuss collaboration 16 July 2020
Meeting with Md. Jashim Uddin, High Commissioner of Bangladesh for Malta
27 July 2020 Meeting with Damon Scott, CEO of Dunbarton Chamber of Commerce, Scotland 4 August 2020
Virtual signing of MOU with Rwanda Private Sector Federation Rwanda
6 August 2020
Meeting with Ambassador Designate for Spain Daniel Azzopardi
7 August 2020
Meeting with Avv. Ezgi Harmanci re- Malta-Turkey Business Council
27 August 2020 Meeting with Ambassador Designate to the Republic of Iceland Jesmond Cutajar 10 September 2020 Meeting with High Commissioner for Australia Jenny Cartmill 15 September 2020 Meeting of Malta Chamber President and Head of Internationalisation with Ambassador of Turkey Kiram Kiratli 28 September 2020 Meeting with Mohamed Wael Khammassi, First Secretary (Diplomatic) from Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia 13 October 2020
Meeting with Non-resident Ambassador for South Africa Dionisio Vella
13 October 2020
Meeting with Ambassador for Spain Daniel Azzopardi and Maltese entrepreneurs based in Spain
22 October 2020 Meeting with Lina Al Nafouri, Second Secretary at the Maltese Embassy in Cairo, Egypt 29 October 2020
Meeting with Libyan Delegation
26 November 2020 JSWC meeting – Extended Edition UAE 2 December 2020
Meeting with Minister Hon. Evarist Bartolo re-Africa Strategy
10 December 2020 Meeting with Al-Fadhal Abbas Al Hinai, CEO of Oman Chamber of Commerce to discuss future collaboration 11 December 2020 Meeting with Ambassador for Germany in Malta Walter Haßmann
48th Session of Joint Stakeholders Working Group re-Kuwait
Signing of Cooperation Agreement with Women’s India Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malta
28 January 2021 Meeting with Ambassador of Kosovo Lendita Haxhitasim
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ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK (EEN)
The work plan for this year had to be reinvented due to global public health measures which mainly disrupted several business fairs, most of which were cancelled, with others shifting to entire digital events during the second part of the year. The EEN team at Malta Chamber implemented a plan which emphasised individual contact with our clients to take stock of their situation, gather industry cluster feedback and liaise with the Policy Department for lobbying and fiscal scheme support purposes. During this phase, the EEN team managed to execute its projected advisory service support obligations within the project, mostly addressing companies from the technology and retail industries. Despite all odds, the EEN team surpassed the annual threshold of Partnership Agreements through participation in several digital co-organised brokerage events focusing on start-ups, technology, retail, manufacturing, energy efficiency and fashion; together with individual partnering support across the network which spreads across 65 countries. The economic climate in all this was far from ideal. Such required more efforts to open
avenues and more international contacts for cooperation, especially in the first part of the year within which the Enterprise Europe Network doubled its efforts to promote provision of supplies of medicinal products and food to cater for supply chain disruptions which occurred. Finally, the EEN team at Malta Chamber assumed the responsibility of coordinating the Malta Consortium flagship event of the year with the support of our public private partner Malta Business Bureau. The event was part of a fully-fledged EUOpen4Business campaign aimed to encourage small and medium-sized enterprise owners to benefit from EU support across three main fronts: • Access to EU supported finance • Access to business partners • Access to advice/support Malta was the first EU country which had to experience the organisation of a totally digital Info Day, which took place on 7th October 2020, bringing together over 140 business owners, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and 15 speakers, including the President of the Malta Chamber and our own EEN contact point within our team. All this had to fit within an internal restructuring process whereby 1.5 full time employees shifted to other Malta Chamber projects and the induction of a recent executive had to be accelerated.
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MEMBERSHIP ONBOARDING MEETINGS Following a revamp of the membership process, The Malta Chamber embarked on a more personalised approach with new members. As of January, we started welcoming new members and facilitating their onboarding within the Malta Chamber structures. Each new member was approached with a formal notification letter upon membership approval and followed up within 15 days with a request for an individual onboarding meeting. The purpose of the onboarding meeting is for the member to familiarise themselves with the
services offered and how, as a new member, they can maximise membership value. On the outbreak of the pandemic the onboarding process shifted completely digitally, in full respect of public health measure obligations. These meetings proved to be of mutual interest for both The Malta Chamber and the new members, providing a better understanding on common interest to pursue a journey built on mutual trust and focused on actions which would translate into value with our services. Prior to this stage, the department supported our Business Development Manager in identifying clusters of potential new members and reached out to schedule membership recruitment meetings.
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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES BUSINESS SECTIONS CARE HOME OPERATORS Ms Natalie Briffa Farrugia – Chairperson Dr Sarah Vella – Deputy Chairperson Ms Charmaine Attard Ms Fleur Balzan Ms Angelle Falzon Dr Marie Eleanor Farrugia ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS Mr Joseph Bugeja – Chairperson Mr Joseph Gingell – Deputy Chairperson Mr Simon Alden Mr Conrad Pace FINANCIAL SERVICES Mr William Spiteri Bailey – Chairperson Mr Kenneth Farrugia – Deputy Chairperson Mr Jean Paul Fabri Mr Karol Gabaretta Mr George Mangion Dr Malcolm Mifsud Ms Deborah Schembri Ms Angela Tabone FOOD AND BEVERAGE PROCESSORS Mr Alex Meilak – Chairperson Mr Stephen Bonnici – Deputy Chairperson Mr Benjamin Brincat Mr Joseph Pace HEALTHCARE Ms Giulia Attard-Montalto – Chairperson Mr Robert Magri – Deputy Chairperson Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr Paul Apap Bologna Ms Joanna Gatt Mr David Stellini INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY Mr Francois Grech – Chairperson Mr Gordon Micallef – Deputy Chairperson Mr Marcel Cutajar Mr Joseph Roland Scerri Mr John Wood LOGISTICS Mr David Fleri Soler – Chairperson Mr Pierre Attard – Deputy Chairperson Mr George Amato Mr Robert Aquilina Mr Shawn Falzon
MEDICAL CANNABIS Mr Christopher Busuttil Delbridge – Chairperson Mr Adrian Azzopardi – Deputy Chairperson Dr Angele Azzopardi Mr Matthew Deguara Mr Peter Paul Farrugia Mr Robert Spiteri PLASTICS & RUBBER MANUFACTURERS Mr Luke Satariano – Chairperson Mr Mark Borg – Deputy Chairperson Mr Robert Borg Mr Arthur Mallia Mr Kenneth Micallef Mr Ivan Gerada Mr Olaf Zahra PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY LEAD PHARMACISTS Mr Reginald Fava – Chairperson Ms Marisa Dalli – Deputy Chairperson Ms Eliza Vella Ms Pierina Zammit SHIPPING & BUNKERING Mr Peter Sullivan – Chairperson Mr Matthew E. Sullivan – Vice Chairman Mr Stephen Parnis-England Dr Stefan Piazza Mr Karl Sullivan TOURISM BUSINESS SECTION Mr Ian Fitzpatrick – Chairperson Mr Alan Arrigo – Deputy Chairperson Ms Genevieve Abela Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr Louis Olivieri Mr James Perry Mr Iain Tonna Mr Kevin Vella VIRTUAL FINANCIAL ASSETS (VFA) AGENTS Mr Silvan Mifsud – Chairperson Dr Jonathan Galea – Deputy Chairperson Mr Daniel Bilocca Dr Franklin Cachia Dr Terence Cassar Dr Tanja Dimitrijevic Dr Malcolm Falzon Dr Rebecca Mifsud Dr Christina Scicluna
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WINES, SPIRITS, BEVERAGES & TOBACCO Mr Pierre Stafrace – Chairperson Mr Michael Darmanin – Deputy Chairperson Mr Alexander Arrigo Mr Tarcisio Piscopo Mr Stephen Rausi
YACHTING SERVICES Dr Alison Vassallo – Chairperson Mr Niki Travers Tauss – Deputy Chairperson Mr Peter Fiorini Lowell Mr Anthony Galea Mr Matthew Gusman Dr Cornelia Zammit German
POLICY COMMITTEES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE THINK TANK CORE GROUP (sponsor Gasan Mamo Insurance) Mr Joshua Zammit – Chairperson Mr Malcolm Booker Dr Maria Brown Mr Anton Buttigieg Mr David G. Curmi Mr George Gregory Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Julian Mamo Ms Maria Micallef Ms Sue Pisani Dr Philip Von Brockdorff Mr David Xuereb BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY (sponsor Engel and Völkers Malta) Mr Benjamin Tabone Grech – Chairperson Mr Mark Arrigo Mr Keith Attard Portughes Mr Matthew Bezzina Mr David Bonnici Mr Trevor Buhagiar Ms Katja Cassar Mr Charles Cuschieri Ms Abigail Cutajar Mr Andrei Imbroll Mr Geoffrey Mifsud Farrugia Mr Sandro Valentino HUMAN RESOURCES AND TALENT (sponsor RSM) Ms Fabianne Ruggier – Chairperson Mr Stephen Bonnici Dr Matthew Brincat Ms Rachel Falzon Ms Ruth Farrugia Mr Jonathan Ferritto Mr Michel Ganado Ms Monica Incorvaja Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Gordon Micallef Ms Sarah Mifsud Mr Ivan Refalo QUALITY (sponsor Evolve) Mr Christopher Busuttil Delbridge – Chairperson
Ms Vanessa D’Amato Ms Nadia Pace Ms Mireille Pellegrini Petit Ing. Joseph Micallef Ms Claire Zammit Xuereb EDUCATION AND TRAINING Ms Claudine Attard – Chairperson Mr Charlo Bonnici Mr Antonello Cappitta Ms Fiona Captur Ms Mariella Galea Mr James Perry Mr Sandro Spiteri CIRCULAR ECONOMY (sponsor PT Matic) Mr Oliver Fenech – Chairperson Mr Louis Borg Mr Robert Cortis Mr Tonio Montebello Mr Mario Schembri Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines Ms Vanya Veras Mr Adrian Vigar SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY (sponsor Malta Public Transport) Mr Konrad Pule – Chairperson Prof Maria Attard Mr Matthew Bezzina Mr Alan Camilleri Mr Michael Debono Mr Ian Mizzi Mr Kevin Vella Mr Sebastian Ripard Mr Konrad Xuereb ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION (sponsor T4B) Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines – Chairperson Mr Louis Borg Mr Nicky Borg Mr Trevor Buhagiar Mr Mario Cachia Mr Charles Cuschieri Mr Louis Montebello Mr Matthew Spiteri Ms Vanya Veras Mr Olaf Zahra
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HEALTH AND WELLNESS (sponsor Atlas Insurance) Ms Catherine Calleja – Chairperson Mr Mark Azzopardi Mr Matthew Bartolo Mr Martin Bondin Ms Valerie Cabay Ms Jackie Camilleri Mr Ian Pisani FAMILY BUSINESS Ms Maria Micallef (RSM) – Chairperson Mr Sam Borg Mr Etienne Borg Cardona Dr Joe Gerada Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr Ian Mizzi Mr Silvan Mifsud Mr Anthony Tabone
CHAMBER A D M I N I S T R AT I V E COMMITTEES STATUTE REVISION COMMISSION Mr David G. Curmi – Chairperson Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Reginald Fava Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Ms Johanna Calleja
M A LTA C H A M B E R COMMISSIONS SET UP BY S TAT U T E ELECTORAL COMMISSION (STATUTE ART 6.1A) Mr Louis Apap Bologna Mr Charles Borg Mr Victor Camilleri Mr Michael Cutugno Mr Josie Ellul-Mercer CONFLICTS RESOLUTION PANEL (STATUTE ART 10.1B) Mr Joseph Bugeja (Chairperson) Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Anton Borg Mr Joseph Pace Mr Michael Scerri ETHICS AND DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION (STATUTE ART 8.2A) Mr David G. Curmi – Chairperson Mr Martin Galea Dr Hugh Peralta Mr Joseph F.X. Zahra
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N O M I N E E S O N B OA R D S A N D C O M M I T T E E S BICC – PROPERTY MARKET WORKING GROUP Mr Ian Casolani
JOBS PLUS BOARD Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo
BICC – REGENERATION OF PROPERTY WORKING GROUP Ms Victoria Farrugia-Galea
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT YOUNG ENTERPRISE Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo
BICC – EDUCATION AND TRAINING WORKING GROUP Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines BICC – BUILDING REGULATIONS AND EU DIRECTIVES WORKING GROUP Mr Adrian Mallia BICC – RESEARCH AND INNOVATION WORKING GROUP Mr Chris Busuttil BUILDING INDUSTRY CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL (BICC) Mr David Xuereb Mr Anthony Tabone CLOUD WORKING COMMITTEE Mr Francois Grech CONSERVATORIO VINCENZO BUGEJA COMMITTEE Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr David Xuereb Mr Ian Casolani DIGITAL MALTA GOVERNMENT BODY Mr Francois Grech eBUSINESS AWARDS COMMITTEE Mr Marcel Cutajar EDUCATION MALTA Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Edward Chetcuti EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD AND GUARANTEE FUND ADMINISTRATION BOARD Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Dr Matthew Brincat eSKILLS BOARD OF GOVERNORS Mr Marcel Cutajar EUCI EUROPEAN CERTIFICATE INSTITUTE LTD – IMPARTIALITY COMMITTEE Mr Anthony Tabone INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNALS Mr Reginald Fava Mrs Mary Gaerty
LOW WAGE COMMISSION Mr Patrick Cachia MALTA ARBITRATION CENTRE Dr Matthew Brincat MALTA BUSINESS FOUNDATION Mr Sergio Vella Mr John Huber Mr Brian Muscat Mr Anthony Tabone MALTA COLLEGE FOR ARTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MCAST) BOARD OF GOVERNORS Ms Marisa Xuereb MALTA COMPETITION AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS AUTHORITY (MCCAA) Mr Reginald Fava MALTA COMMUNITY CHEST FUND FOUNDATION – ADVISORY COUNCIL Mr David Xuereb MALTA COUNCIL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (MCESD) Mr David Xuereb Ms Marisa Xuereb (alternate) Mr Andre Fenech (alternate) MATERNITY LEAVE FUND ADMINISTRATION BOARD Mr Andre Fenech MALTA COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MCST) EVALUATION COMMITTEE Dr David Grech MALTA COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MCST) STEERING COMMITTEE Dr David Grech MALTA CRUISE LINER NETWORK Mr Ivan Mifsud MALTA ENTERPRISE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr David Xuereb Ms Marisa Xuereb
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MALTA ENTERPRISE BOARD TO PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCTS Mr Joseph Pace MALTA INDUSTRIAL PARKS Mr Ruben Cuschieri MALTA TRADE FAIRS CORPORATION Mr Gino Cutajar Mr Aldo Calleja Mr Charles A. Zahra Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo MALTA-EU STEERING ACTION COMMITTEE (MEUSAC) Mr Gordon Scicluna Mr Andre Fenech MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS – JOINT STAKEHOLDERS WORKING COUNCIL Mr Lino Mintoff MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME I AND II COHESION POLICY 2014-2020 Mr Joe Tanti MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR THE STRUCTURAL FUNDS Mr Joe Tanti NATIONAL ACCREDITATION BOARD (MALTA) Ing. Noel Micallef NATIONAL AI STRATEGY WORKING GROUP Mr Francois Grech NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY BOARD Mr Andre Fenech NATIONAL SKILLS COUNCIL Mr Marcel Cutajar PLANNING AUTHORITY USERS COMMITTEE Mr David Xuereb Mr Ian Casolani Ms Victoria Farrugia Galea RETAIL PRICE INDEX BOARD Mr Andre Fenech RETAIL PRICE INDEX CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE Mr Andre Fenech SWISS-MALTESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Mr Reginald Fava TECH MALTA Mr Francois Grech Mr Roland Scerri Mr Marcel Cutajar Mr Gordon Micallef
TRADE MALTA Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr Joseph Pace BUSINESSEUROPE – THE CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN BUSINESS Mr David Xuereb BUSINESSEUROPE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMES COMMITTEE Mr Lino Mintoff BUSINESSEUROPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Mr Andre Fenech EUROCHAMBRES BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr David Xuereb
E M P LOY E R S ’ N O M I N E E S O N B OA R D S A N D C O M M I T T E E S O F THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ( R E P R E S E N T I N G A L L M A LTA’ S E M P LOY E R S ) EUROFOUND GOVERNING BOARD Mr Joseph Farrugia EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING (CEDEFOP) Mr Joseph Farrugia EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FREE MOVEMENT OF WORKERS Mr Joseph Farrugia EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SAFETY AND HEALTH PROTECTION AT WORK Mr Joseph Farrugia EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY FOR MIGRANT WORKERS Mr Joseph Farrugia EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE Mr Stefano Mallia MALTA DEVELOPMENT BANK Ms Jacqueline Camilleri MALTA STATISTICS AUTHORITY Dr Emanuel P. Delia
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VA L U E TO C H A M B E R M E M B E R S ACCOMPLISHING MORE TOGETHER As always, our work was anchored in partnership and collaboration. In 2020, The Malta Chamber set out to build stronger relationships both with its existing members and the business community at large. Resolute in its mission to be the voice of the Maltese business community, The Malta Chamber launched several initiatives, addressing opportunity and active participation within its vast network. The Malta Chamber re-designed its annual programming
to expand its members’ knowledge and networks in the most efficient way possible. It also continued to advocate for every sector of business and a growth-focused economic environment. 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year and many businesses have been hit hard. During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Malta Chamber continues to play a vital role in providing leadership and support for businesses in Malta during such a sensitive time.
P R OJ E C T S A DIGITALISATION JOURNEY As the leading business organisation in Malta that has been around for over 170 years, it is only natural that the Chamber looked internally to refocus and transform the organisation to remain relevant to its members. Such changes and restructuring taking place are aimed at radically improving some of the most important drivers of the organisation – from its efficiency and effectiveness to member satisfaction and representational excellence. This transformation has instilled the importance of aligning The Malta Chamber’s officials and secretariat team around a common mission and strategy to ensure that the Chamber is geared up for the future and to improve its visibility and membership value in a sustainable manner, year after year. THE MEMBERS’ GATEWAY As part of its digitalisation journey, The Malta Chamber launched an intranet at the end of July 2020, also known as the Members’ Gateway. This project has not only meant a digital transformation of the Chamber, but it has also proved to be a business transformation. It has helped the organisation to rethink the way its work is conducted on a day-to-day basis as well as the way the organisation interacts with its members. As a Chamber, the goal has always been to provide added value to members in ways that we have not been able to in the past. Indeed, the intranet gives members exclusive
access to a system which aims at facilitating communication, engagement and feedback between members and The Malta Chamber. It simplifies the sharing of timely information providing the Chamber with important insight of its membership overall, of the needs of individual segments and increasingly of each individual member so that their experience with the Chamber is always refined and tuned to their needs. With the launch of the intranet, the Chamber helps give more visibility and promotion to its members and their companies through The Malta Chamber’s Members’ Directory, which also allows members to network together and seek their peers via a user-friendly search option. Through the intranet, members are also able to access the Chamber’s Calendar of Events with an easy online registration process, edit and update their contact details, access their membership status, billing dues, surveys and easy participation in a Projects and Committee management system – with instant access to the latest Malta Chamber documents and policy positions. Furthermore, the Chamber has also incorporated a Payment Gateway within the intranet for an easy and practical online payment process. All these various digital tools and services will complement the overall direction of the organisation on this level while at the same time ensuring that each member is gaining value that is specific and relevant to their needs.
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IT INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE This project has not only meant a digital transformation of The Malta Chamber, but it has also proved to be a business transformation. It has forced the organisation to rethink the way its work is conducted on a day-to-day basis as well as the way the organisation interacts with its members. Digitising several work processes meant a more efficient secretariat allowing the Chamber to really focus its energy on what truly matters to its members. Such a transformation has of course also meant the exploitation of new digital opportunities to accompany such a strategic rethink. During the second half of the year, The Malta Chamber embarked on an upgrade of its IT infrastructure. Aligning itself to the current global scenario of a pandemic with increased health risks, it looked internally and sought to re-engineer its day-to-day process to ensure it could still offer the same services to its members that it offered prior to COVID-19. With this in mind, the Chamber migrated to Microsoft’s Office 365 applications, a worldwide industry standard with collaborative tools improving the secretariat’s efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, such migration to cloud services facilitated instant access by all employees, whether working within the Chamber’s offices or remotely. Cloud services now cover most core applications which also include a migration from Shireburn’s Financial Manager (SFM) to QuickBooks accounting software which integrates seamlessly with the Members’ Gateway, improving workflow processes
through synchronisation of live data transactions. The project also included an upgrade to The Malta Chamber’s network infrastructure through Wi-Fi enhancements as well as backup and recovery plans, including redundancy of equipment and protecting its operations to ensure business continuity. As the Chamber continues its Digitalisation journey, its focus remains that of continuing to improve and grow within itself, but also within the services it is able to offer its members to ensure that it remains relevant and Malta’s foremost business body.
A D M I N I S T R AT I O N CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN In May 2020, The Malta Chamber launched its electronic certificates of origin service. Providing an electronic certificates service was a commitment made by the Chamber when it was accepted as part of the International Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Chain. The timely introduction of the online service was welcomed by all users especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2020 The Malta Chamber issued 2,390 certificates.
ATA CARNETS An ATA Carnet is required when a consignment is leaving Malta on a temporary basis. It enables the goods to enter the country of destination with reduced formalities for eventual return to Malta. The client is required to issue a bank guarantee or pay the Chamber a deposit for a percentage of the value of the goods. This is refunded once the consignment returns and the documents, which have been stamped by Customs, are returned to the Malta Chamber. 17 carnets were issued in 2020.
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E X A M I N AT I O N S E R V I C E S I E LT S ( I N T E R N AT I O N A L E N G L I S H L A N G U AG E T E S T I N G SYS T E M ) from persons who would like to emigrate, attain professional registration or seek employment opportunities in various countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
In today’s world it is becoming increasingly important not only to know the English language but also to demonstrate such knowledge through credible and trusted third party certification such as that provided by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Such requirements usually arise at the place of work, in education and in cases of emigration. Businesses that require client-facing employees to be proficient in the English language are increasingly requiring potential applicants to submit an IELTS test report form as part of the recruitment process. This will confirm their ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. Many students travel to Malta to study the English language, practice their skills within the community and assess their proficiency by attaining an IELTS qualification. Such certification is usually a pre-requisite for students from non-English speaking countries who wish to further their education in English speaking universities and centres of higher education. Finally, proof of ability to communicate in English is usually demanded
The Malta Chamber was appointed as the only official IELTS testing centre in Malta in 1998 and it has been offering this service ever since. There has been a constant growth in the demand for IELTS testing in Malta in the last few years, a trend that was reversed last year with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic led to the introduction of various health related measures, such as the suspension of all examinations from mid-March to midJune. IELTS Malta cancelled the six sessions it had scheduled for spring, although an extra five were added later in the year to bring the annual total to 17 sessions. However, the re-introduction of testing was accompanied by strict social distancing rules which severely limited the number of candidates per session. These measures, accompanied by a decrease in demand from foreign students, led to a decline in the number of persons sitting for IELTS at the Malta Centre to 569 candidates in 2020. Early in 2015, the UK Government chose the Malta Chamber to be one of the 10 independent centres in Europe where IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills tests can be held. These tests, which in Malta are held by British Council Rome under enhanced security and stricter procedures, are the only Secure English Language Tests (SELT) approved by the UK government for Visa and Immigration purposes. Additional information pertaining to the IELTS test can be sourced at www.maltachamber.org.mt/en/ielts OTHER EXAMINATION SERVICES The Malta Chamber is also an approved examination centre, and regularly conducts examinations for Cambridge; Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; The Open University in the North; The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; University of Dundee; and the Queen Margaret University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these examining bodies held only a few examinations at the Malta centre in 2020.
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S U R V E YS The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) conducts regular harmonised surveys for different sectors of the economies in the European Union (EU) and in the applicant countries. The objective of these surveys is to gauge perceptions and expectations of operators in their respective sectors. Internationally, these surveys serve as a lead and timely indicator of actual performance, and the data gathered is used to build composite indicators to track cyclical movements, both in specific sectors and in the economy as a whole. However, they are not meant to substitute official data on the performance of the sector. Emphasis is on short-term performance rather than on structural issues, which would require more in-depth study. The programme allows for comparisons among different countries’ business cycles and has become a recognised tool for monitoring the evolution of the EU and the euro area economies, and applicant countries.
conducting the Industry survey in 2002. The Services tender was won for the first time in 2007, the Construction survey in 2008, and the Retail survey in 2011. The Malta Chamber has been conducting these surveys uninterruptedly since the said dates. The last Framework Agreement tender, for a maximum duration of six years, was won in 2015. From the very beginning of the process, the Malta Chamber had decided to partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers for the provision of bespoke survey software and this relationship still exists to date.
The European Commission does not conduct these surveys directly but does so through partner institutes established in the various surveyed countries and chosen through competitive tender. The tenders are usually for a number of years and the contracts always start in May. The Malta Chamber started
ISO:9001 Since December 2010, the Malta Chamber has been certified by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) to be in compliance with the requirements of MSA ISO 9001. Initially the Malta Chamber was certified to comply with MSA ISO 9001:2008, but when this standard was revised in 2015, The Malta Chamber asked for recertification to the revised standard and this took place in December 2016. Changes introduced in the 2015 revision are intended to ensure that ISO:9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which organisations operate. Some of the key updates included the introduction of new terminology, restructuring of some of the information, an emphasis on risk-based thinking to enhance the application of the process approach, improved applicability for services, and increased leadership requirements.
The objective of the Malta Chamber Quality Management System (QMS) is to support, safeguard and promote the interests of members, influence the formation of policy at national and European levels and to ensure effective support services. The QMS is designed to provide documented procedures and a control mechanism to assure the quality of its service, provide controls for the prevention of non-conformities, and assure consistent delivery. The Malta Chamber monitors the effectiveness of its QMS, and its compliance with the requirements of the standard through regular Internal Audits and Management Review Meetings. On its part the MCCAA holds regular audits, the last one being in February 2021.
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M A LTA B U S I N E S S B U R E AU
EU ADVOCACY WORK COVID-19 2020 saw an extremely fast start for MBB, analysing and communicating on several important strategies issued by the European Commission, including the European Green Deal, a New Industrial Strategy, a New SME Strategy, a Farm to Fork Strategy, a Strategy for Europe fit for the Digital Age, a New Consumer Agenda, and the EU’s ambitious trade agenda. However, things took an unexpected turn with the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Facing an unprecedented situation, MBB kept its parent organisations, The Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, abreast of the measures introduced by the European Commission and other European institutions to address the rapid deteriorating health and economic situation. MBB also provided information on the several initiatives and best practices that were being adopted in all EU member states to support the business community, for the parent organisations to put forward recommendations to Government. MBB welcomed business-related measures put forward by the Commission, including: the ‘Corona Response Investment Initiative’ to help member states fund their coronavirus crisis response, the ‘Support mitigating Unemployment Risks in Emergency’ (SURE) to help preserve jobs and support families, the ‘Temporary State Aid Framework’ for member states to provide direct support for hard-hit companies, and later the ‘Recovery Plan for Europe’ aiming to support member states’ economic recovery. EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the New EU Budget (2021-2027) Further uncertainty at European level last year was created by the prolonged negotiations for a future EU-UK partnership agreement, as well as for the next programming period of the EU budget and the Recovery and Resilience financial package linked to it.
The uncertainty on the terms by which the EU and the UK, two major economic players on each other’s doorstep, was of major concern, particularly in Malta’s case given the sheer volume of goods and services exchanged annually. MBB advocated throughout the year on the importance of having a deal in place before the end of the year. It also cooperated with The Malta Chamber in the reaching out campaign to business, to prepare for the end of the transition period. While relieved that a deal was finally reached in the dying days, MBB notes that the agreement is comprehensive in trade in goods, but far less ambitious in services, and thus looks forward to further discussions that will go on separately in this respect. Regarding the EU Budget, MBB followed the progress of negotiations closely and spoke up when political issues concerning rule of law provisions to qualify for EU funding opposed by Poland and Hungary threatened the agreement, as this would have delayed the disbursement of the EU funding, which is so desperately needed in the current economic circumstances. MBB welcomed the fact that after intense negotiations, the political bickering was overcome, and EU funding programmes will start as planned in 2021. Other initiatives Throughout the year, MBB’s Brussels office continued identifying upcoming policy and legislation that are of interest to Maltese business and that will have an impact in the coming years. It worked closely with several stakeholders and experts in various fields to gather information and data, and contributed to consultations by the European Commission or local entities at an early stage. Among others, the MBB contributed feedback to public consultations on the Revision of the Energy Tax Directive, the Digital Services Act, binding pay transparency measures, the EU Industrial Strategy, the Right to Disconnect, and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Several informative sessions were organised in the form of webinars, including on the European Green Deal, the Digital Services Act, the EU SME Strategy, the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and on the review of the EU’s trade policy.
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Supporting businesses with green initiatives Companies around the world are prioritising sustainability more than ever before. MBB has worked extensively over the past year to help local businesses adopt green practices through its LIFE FOSTER project and the Business Against Food Waste campaign, focusing on food waste reduction. MBB also finalised a research study conducted on behalf of the Energy and Water Agency, looking into the energy behaviour of manufacturing businesses in Malta.
ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK 2020 was a great year for EEN Malta. Despite all the challenges, the Network managed to support hundreds of Maltese start-ups and SMEs facing the COVID-19 crisis, accessing finance, innovating, as well as making international connections. Together with EEN Malta consortium partners, MBB also coordinated the ‘EU Open for Business’ campaign. Initiated by the European Commission, the campaign aimed to promote the business-support services offered by the EU, including the Network itself, as well as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, Horizon 2020, and SOLVIT, among others.
Promoting soft skills’ development As digital natives predominantly accustomed to the online world enter the workforce, soft skills training is necessary. For this reason, MBB has sought to promote soft skills’ development through its INCOME and LEADER projects. LEADER project is working on developing a soft skills curriculum for VET students, a train-the-trainer guidebook and a serious game which is expected to complement more traditional forms of teaching and training. On the other hand, INCOME project aims to introduce a new learning model which will better incorporate soft skills within the tourism curricula. Given the current implementation of multiple recovery plans to re-launch economies across Europe, the project’s work proved useful in determining what the tourism industry can keep improving on to boost its sustainability. Fostering digital skills and financial literacy The new digital era is changing our lives, our jobs, how we run our businesses and manage our money. This means that having financial and digital skills is increasingly essential to help individuals progress and prosper both
An Info Day for SMEs and SME Support Organisations was held on 7th October as part of this campaign. The digital event shed light on the various EU and national support services and funding opportunities available to Maltese SMEs. Participants also had the opportunity to register for one-to-one meetings, giving them the chance to exchange and network with other SME owners and/or business support organisations in attendance. More information about this can be found on the Campaign Hub: www.euopen4business.eu PROJECTS MBB’s work continued to be effective through its attainment of EU funding and participation in EU programmes for the benefit of its parent organisations and the business community at large. MBB’s priority areas for 2020-2021 include the following: MBB CEO, Joe Tanti presenting the industry research study
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MBB President, Simon De Cesare receiving the award. Photo: Stephen Busuttil - DOI
on a personal and professional level. MBB has embarked on DIFME and INVEST+ projects with the intention of developing training and online resources to address existing gaps in the financial and digital skills of entrepreneurs. Several financial literacy mentoring sessions were held in 2020 as part of INVEST+ project, as well as a workshop on the economic repercussions and opportunities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through DIFME project, MBB finalised an online training programme offering an easier understanding of financial literacy and digital internationalisation skills for entrepreneurs. MBB WINS NATIONAL ENTERPRISE SUPPORT AWARDS 2020 In October 2020, MBB won the National Enterprise Support Awards (NESA 2020) with its Energy Ecosystem initiative. This annual award seeks to reward entities which support entrepreneurship and enterprise growth. MBB
was subsequently shortlisted for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, in which it successfully finished runner-up to Germany. MBB’s Energy Ecosystem is the first comprehensive network of energy stakeholders and businesses of its type in Malta. It promotes direct energy efficiency action by businesses in Malta through promoting technical support for energy projects; the promotion of financial instruments for energy efficiency that address market gaps; the dissemination of local best practices; and policy learning. So far, the Energy Efficiency Ecosystem has reached around 150 Maltese companies across various industries and will seek to continue expanding this network and offer continuous support where needed. The Ecosystem is led by MBB, in collaboration with the Energy and Water Agency. For more information, visit www.mbb.org.mt or contact MBB on email@example.com or +356 2125 1719.
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T R A D E M A LTA
TradeMalta started the year 2020 with a set of international engagements including setting up of the yearly national pavilion at Gulfood fair in Dubai in February, and the organisation of its second trade mission to Accra in Ghana in early March. The latter was considered a huge success and drew more than 20 participants from Malta who joined the mission to expand their existing business network in this subSaharan jurisdiction. Regrettably, TradeMalta’s international commitments came to a stand-still after March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, all international commitments were cancelled for the rest of the year. Despite this, TradeMalta moved most of its activities online and commenced a series of webinars which attracted a very reasonable audience. The webinars, which were organised in collaboration with HSBC Bank (Malta) and aired live from Studio 7 facilities, covered the following focus areas: • Digital strategies for growth • Effective networking • Digital marketing strategies • Trading with Namibia • The future of supply chains and trade finance • Tools and strategies for international market research • Local software success stories • The African Continental Free Trade area (postponed) • Doing business in the UK post Brexit • The HSBC Navigator Report: Resilience – Building Back Better The sixth edition of the Go Global training course commenced in early January with weekly sessions spreading over a 10-week period. This training programme is aimed at companies who are considering starting their export journey or that have just started their internationalisation process. The 2020 programme was organised in collaboration with the University of Malta and HSBC Bank Malta, TradeMalta’s corporate partner, where 16 delegates were in attendance. In view of the impact of the pandemic on Malta-based exporters, TradeMalta issued an annex to its trade promotion guidelines to mitigate part of the costs incurred by
companies who had lost funds because of cancellations of international events. The annex included additional support for companies such as refunds for online marketing targeting international markets, and subsidies for training in digital tools and strategies. The Government of Malta allocated €400,000 for this incentive scheme. During the last two quarters, TradeMalta launched a media campaign promoting Maltabased exporters. This included weekly features in a local leading news outlet and features in a business magazine, as well as substantial coverage of the same content on social media. This media campaign was well received and gave a significant boost to TradeMalta’s exposure and image. The last quarter of 2020 saw the launch of a new online service to facilitate businessto-business meetings between Malta-based businesses and international partners. The first event this year, which took place in midFebruary 2021, was organised in collaboration with the Ministry for Economy and Industry, The Malta Chamber of Commerce, the Namibian Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Namibia Industrial Development Agency and Team Namibia. TradeMalta plans to organise similar B2B events every two months in 2021. During the year, TradeMalta wrapped up several tenders in connection with the ERDF project. Through this funding programme, TradeMalta launched a number of new and innovative digital services via its platform. Now that the funding period has expired, TradeMalta will continue updating and upgrading these services to cater for the needs of Malta-based exporters.
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Tech.mt was given a mandate for 2020, to promote and highlight the exceptional technology sector in Malta. Time was heavily invested in scouting talent, putting forward success stories, establishing new working relationships with the tech sector and investing within the circular economy. The tech sector made it through the pandemic due to various use of current or emerging technologies, but also through being adaptable and agile. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, Tech.mt continued to champion Maltese talent by participating in local and international fora, encouraging upskilling and academic research in the field and providing guidance to firms seeking to expand beyond Malta’s shores. COVID-19 has put us all in a difficult position, and it has strained many businesses in terms of consumer and investor demand, but it has also encouraged change, and Malta can boast of a resilient infrastructure and solid management styles within the tech sector and beyond. Our promotional efforts have lately been focused on guiding businesses to transition from an offline business to fully online and maximise the advantages of having an online presence. The investment injection by Tech.mt helped create awareness of the sector, monitor the sector, highlight the success of the tech sector and also in the sphere of innovation, assist in digitalisation and in return listen to the feedback of the tech sector. Malta’s tech sector displayed strong resilience during 2020 both in infrastructure and in gross value-added (GVA) terms. When comparing the GVA for ICT in 2019 with 2020, there was a rise of 6.5 per cent during the third quarter of 2020. It is one of the industries locally that still experienced growth during this turbulent year, given that investment in innovation and R&D did not halt during the pandemic. When comparing the third quarter of 2019 with that of 2020, one should also notice a rise in the service turnover index with regards to services in Information and Communication by 14.4 per cent.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) Malta Study of 2020 recognised Tech.mt as a “strategic establishment for the tech sector in Malta”. This highly regarded EU study recognises the entity’s remit within the context of the island’s National Digital Strategy and underscored the collaborative perspective being adopted by the entity.
The official Tech.mt magazine, Tech.Mag, was launched in 2020 and two editions were published. This bi-annual publication fuses thoughtful journalism into the rapidly evolving world of tech innovation. Features include exclusive interviews with local tech leaders discussing the following themes: banking, AI, blockchain technology, education, tax infrastructure, COVID-19, start-ups, apps and gadgets. A major objective for Tech.mt remains that of taking Malta to international destinations, thus creating an environment which encourages mobility and innovation. While many conferences and large gatherings were cancelled due to COVID-19, nurturing local growth and attracting FDI remained top of the list for Tech.mt through regular participation in online seminars, summits and webinars. Tech.mt participated in the Dublin Tech Summit, Africa Tech Week and the Web Summit. The Africa Tech Week was an opportunity for the local sector to explore exporting opportunities and approach foreign partners to internationalise or expand their business outside our shores. The Web Summit, which is considered to be the largest technology event, served as a platform to expose the skills and talents of local entrepreneurs and businesses in the field of technology. Events took place virtually and Tech.mt gave the opportunity to local business
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and entrepreneurs to participate by giving out free tickets during the Africa Tech Week and the Web Summit. Tech.mt also participated in various international fora related to different sectors, including artificial intelligence, start-ups, digitalisation, intellectual property, venture capital, cloud computing and mobility in a digital world. During 2020, Tech.mt established the need to create real-life case studies of tech companies growing in Malta. The aim of these success stories is to show the resilience of the technology sector and to promote the assistance that Tech.mt can offer solution owners to get their work off the ground and into the local market. A number of companies and their respective technologies were provided with a platform to promote and showcase their product/service. An ongoing task at Tech.mt is the implementation of campaigns across various channels and targeting a wide range of audiences, from encouraging students to take up STEM subjects, to women’s empowerment to actively participate in the tech sector and finally, to local and international businesses operating within the sector. Tech.mt acts as a go-to entity for companies and being the promotional arm for the sector, it strives to ensure a wide reach across the market. Tech. mt’s campaigns are driven by the careful listening to what the sector wants and therefore, point technology companies in the right direction. In 2020, Tech.mt launched a strategic partnership initiative with the Industry to continue building on the strong relationship that exists with the private sector. The main purpose of this partnership is to assist the local start-up ecosystem by aiding start-ups, small businesses and students who have an innovative concept but do not have the knowledge or the experience to move their concept forward. This initiative will ultimately provide unbiased feedback from an external perspective, management advice, strategic planning and marketing tactics. Tech.mt has continued to establish collaborative partnerships with a number of foreign Universities. The primary objective of these collaborative partnerships is to create a means for cooperative efforts to strengthen the academic interchange between Malta and Italy, and to promote the technological and research capabilities between all parties involved. These collaborations encourage a
closer working relationship between technical institutions, government, regulatory authorities, businesses, research, education and other organisations in the technology sector.
The eBusiness Awards were in 2020 hosted by Tech.mt for the first time since the inception of these awards. Over 80 nominations were received for this year’s edition encompassing 10 awards, which were evaluated by an independent adjudicating committee. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic these awards were held through an online capacity and thus, further complementing the significant drive for businesses to go digital and encourage the widespread development of online platforms and tools. This year’s edition was a reflection of the strength of the technology and innovation sector in Malta and its direct impact on the Maltese digital economy. Such awards embody the spirit of technological innovation that will spearhead Malta’s economic future. Tech.mt is proposing A National Study of the Digital Divide in the Maltese Islands, whereby a proposal has been submitted at European level which has also been endorsed by the Ministry for Finance. We continued to establish diplomatic contacts in strategic regions such as the UAE, Africa, Indonesia, South Korea, China, India, Vietnam and Japan. A number of joint collaborations and sharing of knowledge with other local stakeholders were established such as with Malta Enterprise, Malta Development Bank, MIMCOL, MCST, NSO, Chamber of SMEs, MEA and Business Enhance. Additionally, through collaboration with local academic institutions such as the University of Malta and MCAST, Tech.mt promoted careers in technology and entrepreneurship. Due to the pandemic a number of projects had to be extended or postponed but work continued and also diversified according to the current situation that we were living in. Ongoing projects include Women4IT,
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oriented jobs and to develop helpful, concrete actions and approaches to upskill young women with a yearning to learn attitude, a sense of initiative and provide them with the social skills necessary to find a job. ICT 4 the Elderly is a strategic partnership project funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. This initiative addresses what has become known as ‘online ageing’, by offering the public a learning opportunity on how the Internet can play an important role in improving the quality of life through online social interaction.
BeSmart Online, ICT 4 the elderly, Get Smarter, Dizzjunarju bil-Malti DIGigital INVasions, Excelerate and Wi-fi points around the Maltese Islands. A total of 75 youth, between the ages of 13 and 17, were given the opportunity to enrol for a free, online Design Taster class delivered by ICE Malta. The curriculum designed exclusively for BeSmartOnline! empowered young talent to be creative, learn in-demand industry tools such as Adobe Illustrator to elevate the level of their work or school projects and most importantly, be aware of the importance of always keeping themselves safe when showing their work or communicating online. Tech.mt worked with various local influencers on a campaign to raise awareness about online safety, as part of the BeSmartOnline! Project. The campaign featured strong messages about various themes such as: cyberbullying; inappropriate material; sexual harassment; fake reality; and the bright side of social media. This campaign also gave insight to the real life of famous Maltese Influencers behind their Insta-glam images/videos on social media. The campaign addressed the positive use of the internet and social media. The campaign was covered over various media such as television and social media. Moreover, a campaign with the name of Our Kids Online was supported on a local radio station covering topics such as chatting at different ages, socialising virtually, child privacy, using smartphone devices, monitoring your kids, consent and child sexual abuse material. Work on the Women4IT progressed with a training programme designed to target young women aged 18 to 29 years who are not in employment, education or training. The aim is to train 100 women across Malta in digital-
The Get Smarter project is aimed at helping mobile users maximise the use of their smartphones. The project consists of an informative training programme, which takes the users through some very useful tools that are available on a smartphone and offers interesting tips for effective usage. The concept of the DIGigital INVasions for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage project revolves around promoting the exchange of good practices for the involvement of citizens in the dissemination, enhancement and care of cultural heritage, through an innovative methodology based on the use of new communication technologies. The methodology improves the digital and communication skills of cultural operators, helping them become promoters to and engage citizens in the valorisation of cultural heritage. It also works to improve the digital skills of citizens involved (from the youngest to the elderly) by using new technologies to promote and give more value to a cultural point of interest. The Free Wi-Fi Hotspots enable users to connect to the Internet at any time of the day. All the Internet points are filtered against inappropriate and unlawful content so as to offer a safer Internet environment, particularly for minors. There are currently more than 400 free Wi-Fi spots around Malta and Gozo and, in collaboration with its various partners, is offering at least four Wi-Fi connections in every town or city.
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The scope of having an online Maltese Dictionary is to keep the Maltese language present and alive within the digital sphere. The Maltese Dictionary platform allows the user to search for a word in both English and Maltese. If the word searched yields no answer, the page allows the user to suggest its inclusion. Therefore, we are continuously updating and expanding the facilities offered on the portal www. maltesedictionary.org.mt. Another project entitled Excelerate, aims to encourage businesses to go digital and invest in cloud technologies. This digitalisation will give businesses a great opportunity to improve their efficiency, increase their margins and generally provide a better customer experience in today’s competitive market. Earlier this year, UNICEF invited Governments and interested companies to pilot the Policy Guidance on AI for Children and share their findings about how it is used, what works and what doesn’t. These real experiences from all participating partners are aimed at improving future versions of the guidance and inspire others to implement more child-centred AI policies. Tech.mt, together with the Office of the Commissioner for Children in Malta, is proud to announce that it has been selected to partner with UNICEF in order to bring forward a childcentred approach into Malta’s digital policies and strategies. Tech.mt’s proposal was chosen out of all the submitted applications. Through such a partnership, Malta joins other countries such as Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan, Finland, Chile,
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda in a global effort towards AI policies and systems that support children’s development. Tech.mt was the national contact point for the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Policy Map project for 2020 in terms of data collection and submission. The BIK Policy Map is a key tool to allow the proper assessment of the implementation of child online safety policies at national level and across Europe, and the planning of the way forward. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maltese Safer Internet Centre worked on a number of initiatives including a series of infographics as part of a marketing campaign through social media and teleskola.mt, safety tips for children, parents and educators and also an aminated video which had an organic reach of around 17,000. As part of the Be smart online project, during the Safer Internet Day held on 15th February, Tech.mt organised a public activity to promote better use of the internet and disseminate educational resources to both teachers and parents.
2021 In 2021, Tech.mt will remain pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible, engraining an economy which is based on digital resilience and digital innovation. Tech.mt remains committed to guide technology companies in the right direction through expert advice, solution-driven services, a platform for participation in events and by facilitating connections for businesses to scale or internationalise. Tech.mt looks forward to working closely with the tech sector to ensure further growth and success in the coming year. https://tech.mt; Email: Techmt.firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: @Tech.mtMalta; LinkedIn: Tech.mt; Twitter: @TechmtMalta; Instagram: Tech.mtMalta
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E D U C AT I O N M A LTA
The year 2020 under review was most disruptive due to a world public health crisis. An unprecedented crisis never seen during the last century caused the cancellation of yearly conferences, seminars and promotional activities involved in Foreign Higher Education. These activities included the Basel Education Expo in Switzerland, Global Education Network Europe in Bonn and Brussels, the European Union Directorate for Education – ‘Study in Europe’ in Brussels, British Council Going Global in London, DHGroup in Switzerland, NAFSA in the US, and the European Association of International Education in Spain. All the mentioned entities reverted to virtual events in order to maintain contact with international parties and shareholders and adjust together to the new unprecedented reality. Education Malta’s operations, like all sectors of the economy were also greatly impacted having had to adjust to the ‘new normality’ that drastically impeded the Foundation’s marketing and promotional plans for 2020.
Nevertheless new interest was expressed virtually. Discussions are being held and new interest is being followed virtually. Representatives from education institutions based mainly in Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, India and China approached the Foundation in order to express their interest in establishing a presence in Malta. Areas of interest being explored by these institutions are diverse and included courses in Healthcare, Biotech, Research, Engineering, Business and Administration, ICT and Finance. As it is the policy of the Foundation, the focus continues to be to attract niches and quality, rather than quantity. Meanwhile the Foundation continued to strengthen its working cooperation with the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, Malta Enterprise, Identity Malta, the University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), The Institute of Tourism Studies and other operators, private educational entities accredited/licensed to carry on the provision of educational services in Malta. Besides cooperation on all areas of promotional activities, the Foundation endeavours to assist private educational entities to recruit students from overseas to study in Malta. During 2020, Education Malta continued to actively connect and engage with education
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networks internationally, including the European Union ‘Study-in-Europe’ Project and the other European Union funded entity – Global Education Network Europe. Together with the other 27 EU member states national agencies tasked with promoting their respective countries to attract international students to study in Europe, Education Malta continued to meet virtually to plan initiatives to attract students from non-EU member states to study in countries forming part of the EU. Here technological tools and their accessibility were explored as a means to continue the courses already being undertaken as well as to advance blended learning and above all, to ensure equal education distribution to all students who were deeply impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. New modes and practices in international education which are more accessible and sustainable have emerged during this year. A great deal of emphasis on expanded content marketing strategies, virtual reality, virtual campus tours as well as online students’ fairs and other similar events was noticed. In this following part, we’ll focus on Education Malta’s highlights during this disruptive year. During 2020 Education Malta actively participated in a vast number of virtual educational conferences and webinars. In January 2020 Education Malta welcomed a delegation from UK, London School of Commerce that visited and met with Education Minister, the Hon Dr Owen Bonnici. During their meeting, the Chairman, Mr Mark Field MP, Mr Raj Andy and Mr John Philips, International Director at LSC, noted the ongoing success in students’ recruitment as well as their intention to upgrade to a University level, in due course. As full members, Education Malta took an active role in the European Union, Directorate for Education ‘Study in Europe’ project and the Annual General Meeting of this EU Group of Agencies tasked with the promotion of international education and to attract students from non-EU countries to study in European Union countries. In April 2020, The European Association for International Education held a webinar with the theme International education and challenges brought about by COVID-19 and travel restrictions. A webinar by Prof. Dr. Dirk Van Damme on Education in achieving Sustainable Development Goals was held in May 2020
and was organised by the Global Education Network Europe. In November 2020, the British Council held a webinar on the Internationalisation in Higher Education for society. During the same month, the DH Group held a webinar on the challenges and benefits of education business partner involvement. Following the success of the 41st GENE Roundtable which was held in Malta in October 2019, the Hon Minister Evarist Bartolo was invited to deliver the key note address on the opening of the first day of the 43rd Roundtable Conference which was held virtually over three days on 8, 15 and 16 October 2020 respectively. Minister Bartolo’s presentation was well welcomed by the approximately 50 delegates from around Europe, including the Baltic States. From the past year’s experiences, we could appreciate the efficiency and beauty of technology but international education and its promotion will never stop being about personal connections and the relationships we build with local and overseas colleagues, partners and students. So, even as we lean more on digital tools, we must take care to keep that element of human contact. Education Malta is looking ahead to 2021 with optimism and hope, and looks forward as well to continue placing Malta firmly as a centre of repute on the world map of international education.
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P U B L I C R E L AT I O N S Although the year in review was primarily dominated by the challenges brought about due to the pandemic, The Malta Chamber remained focused on achieving its goals on a number of fronts. The Malta Chamber rebrand was officially launched in June 2020. The rebrand focused on showcasing the restless drive to be Malta’s foremost business representative body. While providing a respectful nod towards the past, the new brand identity was driven by a renewed sense of purpose to boldly continue influencing policy while building a resilient business culture. During the past twelve months, 113 press releases were issued to the media on several topical matters that reflect the stance of The Malta Chamber on national issues. In collaboration with Content House Ltd, The Malta Chamber website continued to build its reputation as one of Malta’s leading business portals. Apart from publishing daily business news in an efficiently, timely manner to keep visitors up to date, www.maltachamber.org.mt also updates users on all the relevant work that The Malta Chamber does. As part of its efforts to reinforce its online presence, The Malta Chamber enhanced its social media activities by adding Instagram to its arsenal in order to ensure that the younger generation is reached. Furthermore, previously used social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, have been utilised to their full potential to constantly reach a wider target audience. New direct marketing efforts were also introduced during the year in review. Chamberlink, the weekly newsletter showcasing the most prominent Chamber and Business news was sent 54 times, including a special edition related to the 2021 Budget. Moreover, an event newsletter was also introduced in Q4 of 2020. This weekly newsletter, aimed at members, provides an update on all the upcoming events that The Malta Chamber is organising. Together with CiConsulta, Chamber members were also sent a daily news bulletin highlighting all the major news stories. Throughout the year in review, The Malta Chamber also continued to reinforce its strong presence and exposure through traditional media, as it continued to contribute to the
national debate on economic and business matters. Six editions of the Commercial Courier magazine were published. A number of documents were also professionally produced and published, including Economic Vision 2020-2025, Economic Vision 2021 – Business, Finance, Economy, Driving the wealth and wellness of society – Recommendations for the Annual Budget 2021 and the Manifesto for Good Governance, amongst others. Due to the pandemic, the vast majority of events and webinars were held online, however, a select few were provided with a hybrid solution. Some of the most successful webinars and events held were the ‘Successes within COVID Young Chamber Network’ event, during which a discussion was held on how business managed to turn threats into opportunities, ‘Meet the Prime Minister’, where members had the exclusive opportunity to ask questions directly to the Prime Minister, and ‘Re-engineering your way to success’, where as part of SME week, the importance of business restructuring was discussed, while a Government scheme aimed at aiding businesses was launched. In order to continuously achieve marketing and communications excellence, more hands were needed on deck. Mel Aquilina joined the Communications Team as a Marketing and Communications Executive to provide a fresh approach towards content, social media and digital marketing.
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1 7 T H F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 –1 2 T H D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 1.
17 February 2020
19 February 2020
3. 21 February 2020 4.
28 February 2020
Clarification on IIP scheme Looking forward towards a Smart Sustainable Island The Malta Chamber cautions against EU law which threatens the competitiveness of the Maltese logistics industry Situation requires calm, clarity, common sense and consistency
5. 3 March 2020 Need for complete reform of the Building and Construction Industry reached new high 6. 5 March 2020 The Malta Chamber calls for an emergency fund to safeguard businesses experiencing Coronavirus-related slow-down 7.
9 March 2020
8. 12 March 2020
The Chamber voices COVID-19 concerns with PM The Malta Chamber calls on Government to immediately launch a set of assistance measures for companies
9. 14 March 2020 Government announcements are a step in the right direction but bolder measures needed. Lockdown should be decided on by competent authorities 10. 15 March 2020 11.
16 March 2020
Chamber calls on employers to observe all health and procedural guidelines and regulations related to COVID-19 very strictly The Malta Chamber presents Economic Vision to PM
12. 18 March 2020 Chamber seeks practical advice from authorities to help businesses through COVID-19 storm 13.
18 March 2020
Government announced measures will not stop job losses
21 March 2020
Dialogue remains key but action is urgent
15. 23 March 2020 Chamber upfront to provide top professional and expert support on way forward 16. 24 March 2020 Revised business support measures reflect Malta Chamber’s proposals 17. 28 March 2020 Chamber reiterates offer to provide constructive and objective support 18.
30 March 2020
Employer bodies send strong signal of unity
19. 31 March 2020 Successful lobbying results in inclusion of more sectors in Government’s COVID-19 help list 20. 4 April 2020 “The Malta Chamber – We must prepare for and seize the opportunities ahead!” 21. 4 April 2020
Malta Chamber was first to call on businesses to practice highest standard in market-pricing, back in 10th March
7 April 2020
Full disclosure on former ITS site project needed
7 April 2020
“The most sensitive time yet, the time for the boldest of decisions”
24. 8 April 2020 25.
8 April 2020
Chamber’s latest study indicates that support measures announced so far were positive but more support is needed Chamber teams up with leading brands
26. 9 April 2020 New Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Agents Business Section within The Malta Chamber established 27. 9 April 2020
Malta Chamber President appeals for a strategy on economic recovery to fellow European business leaders
28. 15 April 2020
Assistance should not be limited to just contribution to wages if we are to assist the economy in this crisis
29. 16 April 2020
Chamber welcomes Government subsidy on business loans as another step to support business resilience
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22 April 2020
More openness needed
31. 30 April 2020 3rd Chamber study confirms need for wider support and better guidance to business 32. 1 May 2020
The Malta Chamber of Commerce happy with first steps towards Economic and Social normality to support Nation
4 May 2020
Chamber offers alternative Solutions to price orders
8 May 2020
“Resilience, Adaptation, Innovation”
8 May 2020
IIP scheme needs to be suspended and a new scheme launched
10 May 2020
Chamber welcomes Ambassador’s resignation
11 May 2020
In memory of Anthony J. Tabone
12 May 2020
We must seize the opportunities around us
39. 14 May 2020 Chamber of Commerce welcomes Government’s efforts to implement Venice Commission recommendations 40.
14 May 2020
Initiative laudable, budget too low
41. 14 May 2020 Maritime and Logistic Industry require more aid from the Government 42. 15 May 2020
The Malta Chamber of Commerce welcomes Education Minister’s initiative in response to its Economic Vision
43. 18 May 2020
“It is time to open the economy further, and for people to return to work, in a safe and responsible way” – Chamber President
44. 18 May 2020 Chamber of Commerce welcomes relaxation of measures, calls for discipline 45.
20 May 2020
We cannot remain in a state of emergency
21 May 2020
Making a success of the new norm
47. 22 May 2020
“We must emerge out of this fog more resilient and energised today, for a more competitive Malta tomorrow”
26 May 2020
Irresponsible acts risk throwing away a nation’s sacrifice
27 May 2020
Embracing Good Governance
50. 28 May 2020 51.
1 June 2020
Chamber of Commerce holds webinar on initiatives related to insolvency risk and support for directors Further relaxing of measures welcome
52. 2 June 2020 Chamber updates President on its work in favour of Malta’s businesses 53. 3 June 2020 71 per cent of respondents say COVID-related stress disrupted productivity 54.
5 June 2020
Let’s make a success of the future
55. 8 June 2020 Special Budget widely reflects proposals made by The Malta Chamber 56.
10 June 2020
57. 10 June 2020
Chamber holds Webinar on support measures The Malta Chamber and Malta Business Bureau congratulate John A. Huber on election to the Eurochambres Board of Directors
58. 11 June 2020 New Care Homes Operators Business Section within The Malta Chamber established 59. 12 June 2020 The Malta Chamber endorses spirit of Kamra tal-Periti’s proposed reforms 60.
16 June 2020
Good governance should take centre stage
61. 19 June 2020 The Malta Chamber was key to the development of Government policies 62. 24 June 2020 Question Time – A Webinar by the Malta Chamber on Trade Finance
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63. 24 June 2020 64.
1 July 2020
The Malta Chamber welcomes the lifting of travel ban for yachts calling to Malta with only crew on board Malta Chamber forges Gold Partnership with EY
65. 2 July 2020 The Yachting Services Business Section Executive Board meets Prof. Charmaine Gauci 66.
4 July 2020
67. 8 July 2020
The Malta Chamber welcomes improvements to the IIP scheme MCESD Employers’ Bodies – “Government needs to practice what is preached re MCESD role”
68. 10 July 2020 Malta Chamber and Atlas Insurance sign Bronze partnership agreement 69. 17 July 2020 70.
18 July 2020
The Malta Chamber signs agreement with Evolve Ltd. for an Economy of Quality over Quantity “Chamber welcomes Safer Neighbourhood Scheme”
71. 24 July 2020
Fatalities cannot Continue to be seen as collateral damage of a successful industry that remains in dire need of discipline
72. 27 July 2020
Industry and the Authorities must work together to ensure steady progress in the battle against COVID
28 July 2020
Succeeding the Moneyval test is a shared responsibility
74. 30 July 2020 “Announcement of measure to further extend vacation leave entitlement ill-timed and insensitive” 75. 31 July 2020 Mass events where individuals are not in control of their actions not commendable 76.
4 August 2020
Less Government, More Governance
77. 6 August 2020 Malta Chamber signs cooperation agreement with Rwanda counterpart 78. 6 August 2020 The Malta Chamber strengthens its partnership with RSM Malta in renewed Gold partnership 79. 11 August 2020 Malta Chamber shares Think Tank recommendations with Opposition 80.
17 August 2020
All persons serving in public office must lead by example
81. 17 August 2020 Lack of discipline and enforcement has led to a retrograde step in COVID battle 82. 25 August 2020 The Malta Chamber announces appointment of a Chief Executive Officer 83. 26 August 2020 The Malta Chamber teams up with PT Matic Environmental Services Ltd 84. 28 August 2020 T4B Services Ltd to support The Malta Chamber through new Bronze Collaboration Alliance 85. 2 September 2020 86.
3 September 2020
“The Malta Chamber and Government share ample common ground in terms of economic vision for the country” The Malta Chamber helps Maltese start-ups internationalise
87. 15 September 2020 Air Malta pilots deal is not reflective of industrial relations norms and practices 88.
17 September 2020
Brief period of heightened measures, enforcement necessary
25 September 2020
Schools which are fully prepared to open, should do so
90. 30 September 2020 91.
2 October 2020
92. 7 October 2020
Linking science with business through signing of MOU between The Malta Chamber and the Malta Chamber of Scientists Let’s build on the lessons learnt Business leaders supported through signing of MOU between The Malta Chamber and VISTAGE Malta
93. 9 October 2020 Members of the public should stick to official channels of information
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14 October 2020
Recover – Re-Invent – Re-Invest
95. 15 October 2020
Sustainable tourism needs to be integrated within a holistic strategy to achieve National Quality Objectives
96. 16 October 2020
It is time for clear mandatory regulation and enforcement for all to ensure accountability and respect for each other
19 October 2020
Rich in social measures, vague on economic recovery
98. 26 October 2020 Black Friday should be extended to Black weekend to avoid overcrowding 99. 26 October 2020 Business community calls for action before end of Brexit transition period 100. 2 November 2020 The Malta Chamber and BNF Bank team up to support Family Businesses 101.
4 November 2020
Re-engineering your way to Success!
5 November 2020
Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce joins the Malta Chamber
103. 6 November 2020 Malta Chamber worried about current challenges faced by manufacturing sector 104. 9 November 2020 105.
12 November 2020
106. 12 November 2020
Malta Chamber helps Maltese retail and tech companies find international partners during virtual UK event Business urged to prepare for No-Deal Brexit Launched call for service providers to support businesses in the business re-engineering and transformation scheme
107. 12 November 2020 New medical cannabis industry business section established within The Malta Chamber 108. 13 November 2020 Malta Chamber encourages employers to actively organise work from home where possible 109. 17 November 2020
The Malta Chamber and MEIA agree to support each other in the interest of the creative sector
20 November 2020
Let us be guided by our scientific experts
27 November 2020
Empowering the manufacturing industry in Malta
112. 7 December 2020 Education is a national priority and schools should be the last to close 113.
11 December 2020
Be Wise, Immunise
12 December 2020
Malta Chamber commends postponement of vouchers