Improving the quality of life in Malta, particularly through infrastructure, education and health care, will be prioritised in the upcoming budget, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said.
Speaking at a consultation meeting with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) in Valletta over the pre-budget document, which contains 130 proposals, Prof. Scicluna said that there was a lot of common ground between the MCESD and government.
The document places particular focus on the importance of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Maltese economy and states that it will widen the bracket of eligibility for incentives while also maintain access to finance and assistance to start-ups.
Government will also initiate a number of projects to cater to the demands for space by SMEs.
Brexit will create a number of opportunities and government will target companies looking to leave the UK to find an alternative base in Europe, leading to the fine-tuning of Identity Malta's operations.
A taskforce will also be created to push for further simplification and less bureaucracy at a rate of 25 per cent to 35 per cent.
Setting up the Malta Development Bank is high on the government’s business agenda. The document says that this will encourage greater competition and efficiency, reduce systemic risk and contribute to financial stability.
The Malta Stock Exchange will be implementing a strategy to develop liquid, efficient and a fair securities market.
A new agency will be established in order to plan and manage the building and maintenance of the roads network. This will be supported by new public-private financial instruments and investments.
The tunnel project between Malta and Gozo is also highlighted as a major project in the document. Beyond the creation of the tunnel, the document calls for greater digital connectivity between Malta and Gozo, while also exploring new niche markets for the island.
Further investment in a greener transport system through incentives to encourage people to use other forms of transport.
Students, children, pensioners and people with disability will be able to use public transport free of charge, while electric and auto-gas vehicles will be exempt from a registration tax.
All students (government, church and independent) will also benefit from free supervised school transport.
The document states that the next three years will focus on sustainable tourism, achieved through an airline route development strategy, which will create year-round connectivity while also tapping new markets. Air Malta will be pivotal to achieving these objectives.
There will also be a proper upkeep of the general infrastructure in tourism zones.