The Malta Chamber 2020 Highlights

2020 will be a year to remember. However, amidst all the challenges that these past 12 months have presented, we have all pulled together and achieved results we are all proud of! As Malta’s leading business representative body, The Malta Chamber has been tirelessly working to be the true voice of business, especially during such a difficult year.

As we look ahead towards the new opportunities that 2021 will present, let us reflect on the 12 months past. From an Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting to winning the Employers Representative Body Award, here’s what we achieved, together!

Launch of Economic Vision 2020-2025
The Malta Chamber launched its Economic Vision for Malta for the years 2020-2025 with the aim to once again provide Government with a business plan conducive to sustainable economic growth. Through this document, the Malta Chamber took a revolutionary approach by moving away from focusing only on the economy, as it gave a great deal of importance to sustainable economic development and quality of life.

Question Time Series
As part of the Malta Chamber’s ongoing journey to be the true and vibrant voice of the business community in Malta, a number of webinars, while the country went into partial lockdown. Named the ‘Question Time Series’, these webinars discussed a number of pressing issues such as the impact of Covid-19 on a variety of subjects, mental health, trade finance and many others. , Members, in turn, had the exclusive opportunity to voice their opinions with the people that matter.

Supporting retailers as they re-opened after the COVID partial lockdown
To keep a constant dialogue with businesses in retail, The President of The Malta Chamber Perit David Xuereb met with shop owners in Republic St to discuss the issues they were facing as all retail outlets were allowed to re-open after COVID restrictions were lifted.

Annual General Meeting of the Malta Chamber
This year’s Annual General Meeting was a landmark event, as it marked an important juncture in the life of The Malta Chamber. During the event, which was held completely online, and which was addressed by the Prime Minister, the rebranding was officially launched to reflect The Chamber’s restless drive to be Malta’s foremost business representative body.

Turning COVID into a success: an event of the Young Chamber Network
During a Young Chamber Network event, which was held at Madliena Lodge (LINK BACK PLEASE), young members discussed best practices on how businesses managed to find the silver linings within COVID, and turn the challenges into opportunities. Ian Casolani from Belair Property, Jo Caruana from and Sebestian Rippard from Bolt all shared their amazing stories.

Heading Beyond Covid: The Malta Chamber’s Think Thank presents its findings and proposes less Government, more Governance
The Malta Chamber presented the preliminary report of its Think Tank and round-tables which for the previous months had been engaged to study and propose scenarios for a sustainable, resilient and competitive future for Malta. The launch was held under the extraordinary auspices of His Excellency the President of Malta Dr George Vella.

Extraordinary Cabinet of Ministers Meeting held at The Chamber
Addressing a historical cabinet meeting which was held for the first time at the Exchange Buildings of The Malta Chamber, the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Robert Abela spoke about his economic ambitions for Malta for the coming years – economic ambitions which mirrored those of The Malta Chamber.

Malta Chamber appoints Ing. Edward Chetcuti as CEO
Ing. Edward Chetcuti was appointed CEO of The Malta Chamber as part of its holistic journey from good to great. Ing. Chetcuti brought with him over 20 years of Leadership experience, becoming a thought leader on driving Excellence and High Performance in organisations.

Prime Minister Robert Abela fields questions from members
Once again, members had the exclusive opportunity to ask important questions and get the right answers from the source. Members attended the hybrid event which was held both online as well as physically for a limited number of attendees, as they shared their concerns with the Prime Minister.

Chamber makes a series of proposals for Budget 2021
Launching the pre-Budget document, The Malta Chamber noted how the 2021 Budget needed to be a formative budget, which would determine the country’s future during and after the pandemic. The Chamber proposed a series of long-term economic measures for a more sustainable economy and a resilient society in the future.

The importance of re-engineering of businesses takes centre-stage as Government scheme is launched at The Chamber
‘Re-Engineering your way to success’ was launched at the Chamber as part of SME Week. The scheme which is managed by Malta Enterprise aims to help entrepreneurs restructure their business models as they embark on a restructuring journey to understand how they can grow more efficient and future-proof.

Getting ready for Brexit
The Malta Chamber co-organized a series of webinars with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Parliamentary Secretariat for EU Funds to discuss a number of themes that could be impacted due to Brexit to keep the members of Malta’s business community well informed on the developments.

Together we achieve more!
In its bid to strengthen its position as a thought-leader, in 2020 The Malta Chamber reached a series of agreements with a number of professional bodies, in a bid to work closely in support of the particular sector, as well as the economy at large.

Strengthening The Chamber
Throughout 2020 The Malta Chamber also signed several agreements with a number of top business organisations in a series of Gold, and Bronze partnership agreements, linked to specific thematic committees. The aim remains to best equip the Chamber with all the required resources to better fulfil its mission as Malta’s foremost business representative body in the future.

The Malta Chamber Wins Employers Representative Body Award 
Hard work pays off! The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry executive team was awarded the Employers Representative Body Award during the Worker of the Year National Awards 2020 for its service to its members and its vital role with regards to the consultation and negotiations with the government to implement a vision for a sustainable Malta.

Care Home Operators meet Minister

The committee within The Malta Chamber representing the Care Home Operators had a positive meeting with Minister Michael Farrugia, together with the President of The Malta Chamber to discuss the vital work care home operators have been engaged in, throughout the past months.

During the meeting, the Minister praised the operators, as he said that care homes were regarded as a key stakeholder in the well-being of our elderly. He acknowledged the leap in such organisations had led. The Minister said that he would be encouraging the values of active ageing, as he noted that the COVID experience would teach us how to better tackle the influenza season.

The Minister noted how he will be involving representatives of care home operators in the immediate, medium,- and long-term plans which include tackling the psychological impact of COVID-19 with the elderly and on focusing on dementia and solitude. The way forward is to also include family members and relatives, among others, the Minister said.

Given the importance of the efficient delivery of the Covid 19 vaccine within all long -term care facilities, the committee within The Malta Chamber of Commerce representing the Care Operators recommended that all operators will commit to encourage the maximum take up of the vaccine since it is so crucial and essential to CHOs.

Initial List of Recommended Service Providers is out!

The Initial List of Recommended Service Providers, compiled by The Malta Chamber that may support businesses to apply for the Business Re-Engineering & Transformation Scheme by Malta Enterprise is out.

Click here to download the initial list of Recommended Service Providers.

Earlier this year, at the ‘Reengineering your way to success’ event during SME week, The Malta Chamber launched the call for service providers for this particular scheme.

The Malta Chamber hasve been entrusted by Malta Enterprise with the task of evaluating and approving, interested service providers to serve as Consultants for both the Business Re-Engineering & Transformation Scheme in the case of SMEs and other Schemes in the case of Larger Enterprises.

By being on this recommended list, clients of such service providers applying for the business re-engineering scheme will be fast-tracked in their application, as the due diligence process of the Service provider would have been carried out by the Chamber.

In May 2020, The Malta Chamber proposed a Business Re-Engineering & Transformation Scheme as a measure ahead of the June 2020 Economic Recovery Plan. The objective was to provide the much-needed support to companies which were negatively impacted Covid-19. This would therefore allow them to ‘stop and think’ and engage in a detailed analysis of their current business operations and services and re-think, re-structure, re-invest and hence re-engineer their business objectives through a number of actions derived from this very important process.

Please note that this is only an initial list. If a Service Provider is not on the list, this means that we are either waiting for more information or the evaluation is still underway.

Extraordinary times, extraordinary banking

HSBC Bank Malta, in collaboration with The Malta Chamber, recently held a webinar entitled ‘Extraordinary times call for extraordinary banking’ to explore digital solutions that can help businesses mitigate the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to adapt to the quickly-changing business environment. As part of the event, the bank also presented its HSBCnet digital solution.

HSBCnet provides visibility and control of HSBC clients’ accounts through a single platform via its highly-customisable workspace that aligns with in-house Treasury Management Systems (TMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This comprehensive banking platform also comes with a mobile app that gives quick and convenient access to HSBCnet 24/7 via a streamlined, intuitive interface for banking on the go.

Mr Robert Seijas, Senior Client Integration Consultant of Global Liquidity and Cash Management (GLCM) at HSBC UK, said: “As technology progresses, efficient working digital solutions are becoming a must, especially in an economic landscape that is pressured by the immense impact of an unexpected pandemic. HSBCnet provides one, easy-to-use, consolidated and highly-secure interface for our clients’ global cash management, trade and supply chain and global markets solutions.”

In addition to Mr Seijas, the webinar was also addressed by Dr Manfred Galdes, the Managing Partner at ARQ Group, who focused on the advantages of moving towards automated solutions that ensure more transparency and the benefits of a cashless society.

Looking boldly ahead

Economic Vision 2021, the annual special edition of Commercial Courier which reflects on the past year, and looks boldly ahead, is out and on its way to members of The Malta Chamber in the coming days.

As expected, this edition reflects on one of the most challenging years in living memory, as it features the views of Malta’s political and business leaders as they reflect on the past year while sharing their hopes for the future.

In a foreword titled ‘Looking Ahead’, The Malta Chamber reflects on an eventful 2020, which was characterised by unprecedented changes to the organisation, to businesses and the country as a whole. In addition, it sets out the goals to prioritise in 2021.

In an interview with Perit David Xuereb, The Malta Chamber President underlines the value of ‘Strength in Solidarity’, and weighs in on the opportunities that have impacted the Maltese business community as a result of Covid-19.

Members of the Board of Management of The Malta Chamber reflect on new approaches to operations.

In ‘Building a better tomorrow for Malta’, Prime Minister Robert Abela shares his thoughts on the successes achieved during this past extraordinary year and lays out a map for a better future in Malta. Leader of the Opposition Party, Bernard Grech, sheds some light on the importance of banding together to put Malta’s prosperity and its citizens above everything else in ‘Strengthening Malta together.’

Outgoing Minister for Finance and Financial Service Edward Scicluna, while warning against ignoring the changes that will come next year, he remains hopeful that Malta’s economy will regain its strength. In ‘Revisiting Malta’s economic model’, Shadow Minister for Finance, Mario de Marco discusses the numerous obstacles Malta has had to face and the need to adopt a new and sustainable economic model.

A number of leading entrepreneurs from various sectors of the economy reflect on the lessons learnt during 2020, and how these can be built on in 2021.

“More than ever, the country needs a holistic strategy for sustainable Tourism for Malta”

Welcoming the new Minister for Tourism Hon. Clayton Bartolo at The Malta Chamber on Wednesday, Perit David Xuereb said that the importance of Malta’s largest economic sector was never more evident than in the past months. He said that the significant world-wide limitations on travel, imposed throughout 2020 meant that tourism was virtually non-existent for most of the year.

“This had very serious repercussions on a myriad of other feeder sectors which depend on touristic spend each year” said Perit Xuereb, as he spoke about the importance of inbound airline routes which were crucial for Malta’s economy.

Perit Xuereb said that more than ever, the country needed a “national holistic strategy for a sustainable tourism industry that promotes the values of our country driven by a qualitative experience for our visitors and a responsible use of our resources while lending itself to an improved quality of life for our nation”.

In his comments, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo earmarked that in the past months, the Chamber of Commerce has been a sterling stakeholder to the Government. “I believe in a stakeholder approach that is across the board. The Chamber will continue to play an important role in the Government’s post-pandemic strategy,” continued Minister Clayton Bartolo.

Perit David Xuereb was accompanied by Tourism Business Section Chair Mr Ian Fitzpatrick, Deputy Chair Mr Alan Arrigo and Policy Executive Ms Julia Aquilina. Minister Bartolo was accompanied by the Ministry’s Head of Secretariat, Mr John Grima, Private Secretary for the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection, Amanda Muscat, Advisor to the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection, Kearon Bruno, and MTA CEO Johann Buttigieg.

A smart island, brimming with opportunity

During a webinar about business opportunities and relations between Malta and France, President Perit David Xuereb spoke about the historically close ties that existed between the two Mediterranean countries, and how both sides could work towards taking the commercial relationship to a new high.

Perit Xuereb said that there was great opportunity for collaboration between Malta and France, especially in the crucial area of research and innovation.
“Malta has all the right criteria to act as a testing ground for R+I projects, for larger countries. Such projects have been very successful in the past – a success which could be emulated, to great benefit for both sides, into the future” the Chamber President said.

Speaking about the challenges of 2020, Xuereb said that “Covid-19 has provided us with the opportunity to appreciate our true realities from both a personal as well as a commercial point of view. Themes such as mental health, quality of life, climate change and global warming took centre stage, as we all adapted to new changes. The past months also offered us a number of lessons that we should not ignore once the pandemic is over” said Perit Xuereb.

The President praised the event which was organised by Business France, The Maltese-French Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the French Embassy in Malta, as it shone a light on the strengths Malta and France shared, and on which a closer bond could be built.

In conclusion, the President augured the two countries to grow closer, and consider all opportunities, towards a sustainable future.

Electromobility; charging Malta’s future

The Malta Chamber’s newly established Sustainable Mobility Committee held a high level meeting with representatives from the Authority for Transport in Malta, Enemalta Corporation, Enemed, and the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the country over the next few years when it comes to electromobility.

In particular, the Committee emphasised the need to strengthen dialogue between the various stakeholders including policy makers, regulators and businesses to reach the challenging commitments on reducing greenhouse gases in the coming years. This is even more important with the recent publication of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy by the European Commission which reiterates the most serious challenge facing the transport sector which needs to become more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55% by 2030.

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Konrad Pulé, explained that the electrification of the vehicle fleet is a unifying factor for different stakeholders in transport, and it can be very effective in working towards the goals set out by the European Commission. However, it poses major challenges for businesses that operate in the transport sector or even in other sectors, and for people in general. This includes infrastructure, education, range anxiety, affordability, and the overall package of owning or using electric vehicles in Malta.

The Committee put forward a proposal to set up a working group between the Malta Chamber and the various stakeholders, in order to discuss and agree on realistic and feasible actions that can be taken to achieve the desired results. All stakeholders present for the meeting recognised the importance of such close collaboration with the businesses, and further meetings will be set up to continue with these discussions.

Going forward, the Malta Chamber will continue to play its part to ensure that businesses are well prepared for the evolution of transport and mobility in the coming years.

The Malta Chamber wins Employers Representative Body Award

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry executive team has been awarded the Employers Representative Body Award during the Worker of the Year National Awards 2020 for its service to its members.

The Worker of the Year National Awards 2020 celebrate Malta’s businesses which showcase best practice and, as of this year, improve the personal and professional development of the worker on the workplace and in the community in general.

The award also recognises how The Malta Chamber plays a vital role with regards to the consultation and negotiations with the government to implement a vision for a sustainable Malta.

“This award is a highly deserved recognition of the hard work of our team at the Chamber in the past year. Their dedication to the job at all levels, is translated into a sterling service to businesses in Malta” said Ing. Edward Chetcuti, CEO Malta Chamber.

During the event, which revolved around the theme of ‘Celebrating the success of our workers’, Minister Carmelo Abela noted the importance of such an event as it provides a platform to recognise and acknowledge those who not only contribute to the success of our country, but also the organizations they form part of.

The ceremony took place under the distinguished patronage of H.E. the President of Malta.