Frank V. Farrugia

Frank V. Farrugia is the President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Grassroot-Level Issues At Top-Most Priority

Friday 11th August 2017

The Malta Chamber prides itself in the elevated position it holds on the socio-economic dialogue landscape, which is the result of a long history of reliable and carefully researched positions that reflect the sentiment of Malta’s business community.  The Chamber in fact sustains this position as it represents the vast majority of private sector employers. 

Within this context, it was my great pleasure as President to welcome the Prime Minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat, and a vast portion of his cabinet recently, for a meeting with the Council of the Malta Chamber. 

The meeting, the first of its kind in this current legislature, had the aim of discussing matters relating to the most salient topics characterising national debate in Malta at the moment.

For the first time, however, I saw fit to delegate a topic to each member of the Council who presented their queries to the Prime Minister and the Ministers present. In doing so, the members, coming from various sectors of the economy, could voice their difficulties and challenges in their specific sectors as well as other issues on a national level. 

I am a strong believer in this bottom-up approach which allows the Chamber to truly use the structures and wealth of the organisation, even at the highest levels of business representation.

This open dialogue exploits the years of amassed experience the Chamber has from the entire economic spectrum, providing on the ground intelligence of the specific business sections.

The feedback we had about the newly adopted system which built on the highly organised structure of the Chamber, was extremely encouraging and the experiment was regarded a great success.  We shall surely continue to fine-tune and build on this model.

During the meeting, members of the council in fact gave suggestions on issues such as the importance of upgrading the island’s infrastructure, the simplification of bureaucratic practices, continued fiscal consolidation, the preservation of the country’s reputation, resolving the issues that plague our national airline, and dealing with the acute skill shortages in our labour market. 

In a nutshell, we once again underlined one of the Chamber’s long-standing mantras - the importance of enhancing the economic competitiveness of our nation and our businesses.

During the same meeting we also drew the Prime Minister’s attention to issues of high and urgent importance such as Brexit, regional aid, banking, the continued abuse in free movement of goods, excise duties and investment in research, development, technology and innovation.

Once again we pushed the grassroot-level issues of our members to the top-most priority.  Though these regular meetings we hold with the Prime Minister and the country’s political leaders we assure that our members’ preoccupations are never far from well-argued and vociferous representation with the decision makers of the country.