Taking the Chamber’s digital offering to the next level

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is inviting parties to express their interest to provide the organisation with an online media portfolio for three years, which can be extended to five.

This is a great opportunity to work with Malta’s foremost business representative body in stepping up The Malta Chamber’s digital footprint.

The successful bidder will aid The Chamber with two of its online efforts:
• Maltachamber.org.mt – A Business News portal, and online home of The Malta Chamber
• Chamberlink – A newsletter published every week, 52 issues per year

Any improvement on the above, and/or new products, services or initiatives that may be suggested, will help in the favourable adjudication of the bid.
Prospective bidders are invited to express their interest by sending a profile of their organisation and a portfolio of past works to edward.bonello@maltachamber.org.mt, by not later than Friday 5th February 2021, end of business.

Click here to download the full document.

Restaurants to have 11pm curfew during February, aid package for bars increased to €2.2m

Malta’s restaurants will have an 11pm curfew throughout February, and will not be allowed to open before 6am, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed that Malta’s bars and restaurants would remain shut beyond 1st February. During Wednesday’s press conference, Dr Abela confirmed they would remain shut throughout the month, and an initially announced €1 million aid package to aid bars and nightclub owners will be increased to €2.2 million.

Bars and clubs were ordered shut at the end of October when Malta’s second wave of infections had spiked. Initially, they were set to reopen on 1st December, but the authorities then extended closure for another two months, until end January.

Dr Abela said that snack bars will continue to have restrictions until the end of February, where they are not allowed to serve alcohol. He confirmed that for Carnival weekend, between 12-14th February, there will be no festivities or celebrations.

With regards to accommodation, he said the Malta Tourism Authority will be carrying out further inspections to ensure that there are no more people gathered than there are registered beds. Concern has been raised at the high number of bookings in Gozo for Carnival weekend, a similar situation to the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

For the Gozo ferry, temperatures will be taken before boarding. Passengers are required to stay in their vehicles for the duration of the journey, while enforcement agents will ensure that those travelling without cars will remain socially distanced.

Malta has consistently registered triple-digit daily new COVID-19 cases since 3rd January, with the most recent spike mainly attributed to social gatherings over the festive period as well as the drop in temperature due to the winter season. A more transmissible COVID variant first discovered in the UK has also been a cause for concern.

The Malta Chamber’s Vision towards a sustainable future

During the Malta Sustainability Forum, The Malta Chamber President, Perit David Xuereb said that economic development, well-being and quality of life were interconnected.

During The Malta Sustainability Forum reference was made to the Malta Chamber’s Economic Vision 2020-2025, which outlines the vision for a “smart, sustainable island”. The document includes 59 recommendations based on growth in a number of traditional and new economic sectors.

“Since the release of its Economic Vision, The Malta Chamber has established committees tackling environmental and sustainability issues, notably the Circular Economy, Sustainable Mobility and Energy Efficiency & Conservation committees. Together, they continue to work on bridging the gap between theory and practice, to put private enterprise at the forefront of realising a sustainable and successful economic future for all” Perit Xuereb said.

The Malta Sustainability Forum included a series of talks with experts from various sectors discussing the numerous ways which businesses can utilise to become increasingly sustainable while aiding society and the planet in the process.

Transparency is key in public procurement process

Speaking on TVAM this morning, Malta Chamber President Perit David Xuereb said that transparency is key to make sure that trust is strengthened and reinforced in the public procurement process, at all its stages.

The Malta Chamber published a document with 36 recommendations for a public procurement reform last week, following a thorough consultation process with its members.

While acknowledging the complexity of the procurement process, Perit Xuereb said that Government may need to equip itself with further expertise when designing and publishing public tenders. “Sometimes the process does not inspire the trust it deserves, and this is not beneficial to any part of it. Government attracts criticism, the business community who would otherwise be interested in tendering loses faith in the process, and ultimately the customer, the tax payer is short-changed as they would not get the best service or product possible” said Perit Xuereb.

“This needs to be addressed, and our document proposes concrete and measurable ways of how to do this, including a contract register to ensure transparency of execution to the satisfaction of all”.

Referring to the proposal to blacklist businesses who would not be in line with the law, Perit Xuereb said that this meant to provide a level-playing field for all operators in a fair competition. “It is not fair that while most business operators go through great lengths to have all their fiscal obligations, licences and permits in order, they would be treated the same as others who may not” said Perit Xuereb. “Discipline is key here, and we believe that a level playing field is indispensable for a fair and equitable public procurement process”.

Perit Xuereb also spoke about how The Malta Chamber is not against direct Orders in principle, however, more transparency and a clear justification needs to accompany each.

“This is not always the case, and sometimes businesses and the public only learn about a direct order, once this is either already awarded or even when the project has already been completed. This only contributes to further doubt in the whole system, which needs to be cleared for the benefit of all. Direct orders should be linked to standards known to be higher” Perit Xuereb concluded.

Malta Chamber Tourism Business Section welcomes Ministry's long-term strategy

During the last year, the Malta Chamber’s Tourism Business Section executive committee met with the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection and representatives within the Ministry and MTA and presented the recommendations laid out in our Tourism Think Tank Report which amongst others focused on Airline Route Regeneration and Development, Tourists’ Quality Experience, and a National and Holistic Tourism Strategy.

The Malta Chamber is pleased to note that the Ministry has welcomed the recommendations by the Chamber through the launch, by the Ministry of Tourism and Consumer Protection and the Malta Tourism Authority titled, Malta Tourism Strategy 2021 – 2030 Recover, Rethink & Revitalise.

The Strategy aligns with the wider beliefs of The Malta Chamber that do not just include sustainability and a quality experience, but also prioritises the importance of integrating The EU Green Deal and the EU Digital Strategy.

The Business Section Deputy Chairperson, Mr Alan Arrigo, commented positively on the direction taken by the Authorities and said that, “The stakeholder consultation is key in ensuring that the tourism strategy in Malta becomes sustainable and focuses on long-term goals. This Strategy document gave the broad stroke foundations on what is required and provides our visitors with an authentic, quality experience in Malta and Gozo.”

Mr Arrigo continued, “As a Committee, we look forward to have a discussion and an in-depth look into the strategy document so that we can consult the Authorities further by providing them a vision that is reflective with the thoughts of the business community.”

Malta-India Women’s Chamber (WICCI Malta) joins the Malta Chamber

The Malta Chamber and the Women’s Malta Chamber of Commerce & Industry Commerce & Industry, an affiliate of WICCI India, agreed to co-operate actively to nurture a climate of economic diversification, development and cooperation between Malta and India, within a global network led by women.
The agreement falls squarely within Malta Chamber’s drive to promote the visibility, development, and advancement of women in business leadership positions, which includes the internationalisation front.

Presiding on the signature of the Cooperation Agreement between the two entities there was Perit David Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber, Dame Jane Chircop, President of the WICCI Malta and Doreen Cutrona, Vice President of WICCI Malta.

“We are excited to have the Malta India Women’s Chamber joining us as corporate members. We are eager to embark with this organisation on this journey towards promoting commercial exchanges for our members with such an important country. But it is not just that. We consider women in business to be a strongly developing entrepreneurial and leadership resource. Leveraging on women talent is becoming a key competitive advantage for progressive economies like ours. I believe that coupled with our respective organisational expertise, the prospects for Maltese business to engage in valuable cross continental projects is promising” – Perit David Xuereb.

During her intervention, Dame Jane Chircop remarked;

“Today it is a milestone and we wrote history for our country. Two chambers with one goal. The empowerment of women in our country is long due and that is what we want to achieve.”

Participating virtually in the signing ceremony, Dr Harbeen Arora, Founder and President of Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce, and Industry (WICCI) congratulated the Malta Chamber for its exceptional work towards advocating a truly inclusive economy where women are given the merited importance, hence the symbolic ceremony taking place under its auspices. In her keynote address Dr Arora besides explaining the role of WICCI India as a global organisation connecting women around the world promoting entrepreneurship.

She also announced the first Women’s Economic Forum Summit, which is taking place in Malta between the 8th and 10th March 2021, expecting to host around 1,500 attendees from various destinations. The event will take place in a hybrid format in full respect of the public health and safety measures.

The terms of agreement signed place both Chambers at the disposition of each other to exchange information and undertake joint initiatives based on their respective contacts and expertise within identified sectors which could lead to bilateral projects.

WICCI India brings together over two thousand members from around 110 countries, 22 of whom form part of the newly established chamber in Malta, who are professionals from different walks of life.

Covid challenges witnessed by the Manufacturing sector

Marisa Xuereb, The Malta Chamber Deputy President and Managing Director of Raesch Quarz (Malta) Ltd weighed in on the obstacles that Covid-19 introduced within the manufacturing sector during a webinar organised by the Malta Business Network on Thursday.

Xuereb noted that proactivity was crucial. “As soon as the pandemic struck, manufacturing companies needed all hands on deck, and new measures were introduced immediately to ensure that the supply chain was not impacted,” she said. She continued by noting that it was clear from the beginning that the Government needed to treat manufacturing as an essential sector which could not afford major operational disruptions.

Xuereb said that full cooperation was required not only from all personnel, at all levels, but also key players within the whole supply chain, such as suppliers and logistics agents. “Although demand increased in terms of certain medical and sanitation products, new challenges arose with regards to delivering such products to locations outside Europe previously supplied from companies in Asia such as China,” she stated.

When questioned about the effectiveness of the wage supplement, The Deputy President explained that it enabled firms in hard-hit sectors such as tourism and retail to maintain employment levels but was less impactful for manufacturing companies.

“It is important to note that a number of positives have emerged throughout the past months. Businesses that thrived during the pandemic were those that learnt to be more flexible while maintaining a healthy, skilled and well-rounded employee-base,” noted The Deputy President. She also said that during a year which was characterised by instability, investing in a business model which embodies a strong customer base was critical.

The Deputy President concluded by noting that thanks to Covid-19, the manufacturing industry was finally being recognised for its resilience. “The manufacturing sector remains a pillar of strength in all developed economies,” she said.

A proactive approach towards good governance practices

“This report is testament to The Malta Chamber’s restless effort, to not only promote good governance but also proactively propose ways how this important value can be improved in practice,” said The Malta Chamber President during the launch of The Public Procurement Reform 2021 Report this week.

Welcoming members of the media, Perit Xuereb noted that The Malta Chamber had continuously championed the cause of good governance. “During the early months of 2020, we launched a document titled ‘Ethical Business calls for change – A Manifesto for Good Governance’ which included 60 concrete recommendations. The same document included a number of recommendations, which addressed Public Procurement and the importance of ensuring best value to the public, fairness to economic operators and transparency,” said Xuereb.

The ‘Report on Public Procurement Reform 2021’, is a further development of The Chamber’s advocacy of best practice in this area. It offers a detailed analysis of the matters surrounding the crucial process with which the Government spends its public funds.

The document was developed after a consultation process with its members and through a working group of experienced individuals and professionals from across the economy. The document serves as valuable guidance for the necessary reforms that are needed, in order to ensure that economic operators are able to perform on a level playing field when tendering for government purchasing requests.

These reforms also serve to ensure that national funds are deployed to their best potential and in the interest of the general public. “The Chamber insists that such procurement exercises must be accessible to all eligible economic operators, free from impropriety and in compliance with the law” Perit Xuereb said.

In conclusion, the Chamber President thanked the members of the Working Group which was led by Vice President Ms Liz Barbaro Sant, and included Former President Mr Anton Borg, Council member Mr Marcel K. Mifsud, and members Ms Maronna Filletti, Mr Mary Gaerty, and Mr Roderick Abela. The group was assisted by Policy Executive Mr Julia Aquilina, while Dr Clement Mifsud Bonnici (Ganado Advocates) was the professional advisor on the process.

The document presented was developed in collaboration with Ganado Advocates.

The Malta Chamber; an advocate of transparency and ethical standards

“Public procurement concerns and affects us all regardless of who we are, where we live, and what we do,” said Liz Barabaro Sant, The Malta Chamber Vice President, as she addressed attendees during the official launch of The Public Procurement Reform 2021 Report this week.

The Vice President explained that “Economic, social and environmental benefits of public programmes and projects to a country and its citizens, depend very much on how public procurement is managed, conducted and controlled. Furthermore, public procurement is critical for the accountability of public expenditure, it supports good governance, while assisting with economic and social development and public trust in government.”

Barbaro Sant emphasised the importance that the real business leaders of Malta should act in the most ethical ways possible. “As Malta’s foremost business representative body, we are very vocal about integrity and transparency. In the coming months, we will continue to fiercely advocate for the implementation of reforms to ensure this pillar of corporate governance functions with integrity. We shall continue to advocate suitable controls supporting the system, and that appropriate anti-corruption measures are in place to avoid any improprieties in public procurement,” she said.

The Vice President noted that the business community must be supported by a Government that truly respects such values of good governance.

“We need to allow a level playing field for suppliers and contractors alike without stifling the growth of newcomers or eliminate track records to favour contractors” concluded Liz Barbaro Sant.