It is time for businesses to be reopened responsibly – Malta Chamber President

President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry David Xuereb said that it is time to re-open the economy, and for people to return to work, in a safe and responsible way.

He delivered his message in a personal video blog on Monday morning, where he cautioned that mixed messages were resulting in confusion.

Perit Xuereb stressed that the three principles which are to be considered when taking decisions are physical health, economic health and mental health. He stressed that as a Chamber, organisation strongly supports the strengthening of all three factors, stressing that one cannot look at economic health of a nation alone.

He highlighted that as the situation has evolved, societies would have to learn to live with COVID-19. Repeating earlier statements, Perit Xuereb said that it is not realistic to pursue aims of close to zero COVID-19 cases without a widely available vaccine.

“We have to stop focussing on ridding Malta of the virus in the shortest space of time and consider that we need to learn to live with COVID-19 until a vaccine is found. This means social distancing and hygiene remain highly important, and vulnerable people must continue to be protected.”

With the realities of the current situation, Perit Xuereb stressed that it is time to reopen businesses and the economy, and stressed how important it is for employers to be prepared and ready to cater for the safety of their employees.

“Steps towards opening the economy need to be actioned , and this needs to happen as quickly as possible…we need to do this with the utmost professionality and responsibility, so that all key principles are taken care of and we continue to ensure that the number of infected remains low,” he said.

“We should not open at all costs. Confidence must be re-introduced into the economy responsibly and in a way that respects all safety standards.”

On the risk assessments that employers must carry out before re-introducing staff to their workspaces, Perit Xuereb said requirements for employers must be communicated clearly and quickly so that they are as prepared as possible.

“We need to return to work, and those who are scared should only be if their employer is not prepared to provide for safe work environment.

“Let’s go to work, let’s give all we can, maybe a little bit more than before, so that hopefully we can lift ourselves from this situation safely, quickly and sustainably – not just on a business level, but a personal level and a national level.”

Chamber President calls on Government to extend assistance to businesses, prevent job losses

David Xuereb, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, has called on Government to further assist all businesses with financial support packages, highlighting that the risk of more job losses remains.

In an interview with, Perit Xuereb said businesses that have helped the country’s economy through the taxes they paid over the years deserve to receive Government assistance, also to help them retain their staff.

“When companies profit, as they did, such profits are typically reinvested back into the business to grow that business,” said the Chamber President. “This is the reason why the Maltese economy has grown so fast, thanks to tax paid as a result of success but also a result of reinvestment of profit into the business. If profits were retained by businesses, then the economy would stagnate.”

Perit Xuereb added that protecting businesses and employment has been the primary concern of the Chamber, and that all its proposals to Government were about protecting jobs and keeping redundancies to a minimum, rather than about retaining or protecting turnover.

While the financial assistance measures rolled out over the last weeks have helped businesses, Perit Xuereb stresses that “the oxygen they were supplied with is running out and further measures are required.”

“The help was great but not enough. We expect more measures to benefit more and more businesses, which were left out,” such as real estate, wines and spirits, and many more.

The Chamber President added that timeliness for banks to provide liquidity is essential, as most companies could only stay afloat for a few weeks with the liquidity they have at hand. “Certainly, the economic mood and the ability to keep afloat start to become more difficult,” he said.

“People were focusing on trying to stretch themselves to retain employees or to try and reinvent themselves. However, the biggest effort over the last couple of weeks had been focused on the need to preserve business.”