Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia urged Minister Cardona to promote the competitiveness of Malta’s manufacturing industry in any political discussions on measures that would impact competitiveness.
During a special dialogue session with the Minister for the Economy and Malta Enterprise, organised by the Manufacturing Economic Group on 7th November, members were informed of the plans and measures for local industry following last month’s budget speech.
“As the champion of Competitiveness in Industry, the Chamber quickly sought to reach out to the Ministry for the Economy and Malta Enterprise because we know that, despite the scarce mention of Manufacturing Industry in the recent Budget Speech, there is still significant support and plans for industry” Frank V. Farrugia said when opening the dialogue session and appealing for reassurance of the sector’s continued importance for the country’s sustainable development.
In his address, Patrick Cachia, Chairperson of the Manufacturing Economic Group, praised industry’s significant resilience and its continued vital importance to the economy but noted the worrying decline in performance during the first half of 2018 compared to previous periods. Opening the discussion, Mr Cachia highlighted some of the main challenges faced by industry, namely shortages of skilled labour and wage pressures, the rental market’s effect on attracting workers, increasing non-wage employment costs, as well timely utilisation of investment tax credits.
Hon Christian Cardona, together with Mr William Wait and Mr Mario Galea, Chairman and CEO of Malta Enterprise respectively, answered numerous concerns and issues raised by members.
With regards to Chamber’s recommendation to incentivise night and off-peak operations, the Minister remarked that initial plans and studies are underway to determine the most suitable way forward and that Malta Enterprise are contemplating incentives for both employers and workers.
In conclusion, Minister Cardona re-affirmed the government’s strong belief that Malta’s manufacturing industry is developing rather rapidly, largely due to the nimble economic and political climate in Malta. It was also agreed that such dialogue meetings are held on a quarterly basis, as constant dialogue is the basis for continuous improvements.