“The publication of proposals for the Budget by the Opposition is symptomatic of a healthy democratic society where social dialogue is alive and well”, said Perit David Xuereb during a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition on Thursday.
The President was leading a Malta Chamber delegation to the Nationalist Party head-quarters, as he presented the employer organisation’s pre-budget 2020 proposals to the Opposition.
Perit Xuereb noted that there were several similarities between the documents compiled by the Malta Chamber and that of the Opposition. He said that this augured well, as it gave the business community and investors, a clear idea of what the economic plans of an alternative government were.
The Chamber President reiterated the Chamber’s view on the current economic situation which was undoubtedly positive, but could not be taken for granted. In this light, the Chamber made a number of proposals aimed at managing the current success, as well as prepare for future challenges ahead.
Perit Xuereb said that the Chamber’s proposals were designed to incentivise more economic growth, improve the quality of life of everyone living in Malta as well as increase economic and environmental sustainability in the country.
Top of the list for the Chamber, to ascertain sustainability in the future, the President explained, was addressing the increase in labour costs, such as additional leave, together with a series of other burdens which had to be carried by the employer, and which have accumulated in recent years. Mr Xuereb also shed light on the importance for the country to start taking R&D seriously, once and for all.
With a view to manage the success, the Chamber’s proposals also called on reforming a number of sectors that were weighing the country down significantly.
These were the public transport system and the need of the introduction of alternative and innovative modes of transport, the proposed Rent Law which fell short of any and all expectations of the sector, the Building and Construction industry which needed to up its game in order to start thinking in terms of quality, and a thorough cleansing of the Financial Services Industry which was suffering from a bad reputation because of a small number of rogue practitioners which were giving a bad name to all of the sector and the country.
The Chamber President was pleased to note several similarities on views in the areas mentioned between the Chamber and the Opposition.
On the other hand, the Malta Chamber President said that the Chamber could not agree with proposals made by the Opposition on a number of issues, namely the proposal that all employees would be incentivised to join a union on a compulsory basis, the obligation for all employers to submit an electronic copy of all contracts of employment, and the possibility for parents to take sick leave that would have been accumulated in the past six years, to care for their children or elderly parents.
In conclusion, the Chamber President once again underlined the several areas of convergence between the Chamber and the Opposition’s long-term ambitions for the economy and the country.
Perit Xuereb was flanked by the Deputy President Marisa Xuereb, Director General Kevin J. Borg, Board of Management member Andrew Mamo, Council member Reginald Fava and Head of Policy Andre’ Fenech. The Chamber’s proposals were also previously presented to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance as well as the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD).