While expressing the Malta Chamber’s satisfaction for the Government’s alignment of its long-term economic vision with that of the Chamber, Perit David Xuereb said a long way remained to be travelled in order to ensure progress from words to business in a number of subject areas.
In the article titled “An Economic Vision – From Words to Business”, Perit David Xuereb, said that The Malta Chamber had in various documents advocated an Economic Vision for Malta to become a Smart Sustainable Island that seeks to increase economic growth while enhancing the quality of life of the people.
“A holistic reform of the building and construction industry has never been greater”
“This Vision has been shared with Government in regular submissions. The Chamber is aware that it has successfully managed to bring this message home to Government so much so that during the recent Cabinet meeting held at the Chamber Building in August, the Prime Minister said it was pointless achieving economic growth unless this translates to a higher quality of life” Perit Xuereb said.
The President then proceeded to explain The Malta Chamber’s view on a number of areas that need addressing starting with standards in building and construction, which in Perit Xuereb’s view, needs urgent, serious uplifting to quality standards to an appropriately regulated industry.
“Government should work towards the goal of having all new development in line with internationally recognised sustainability standards that drive the zero-carbon national objectives we all yearn for” he said.
Commenting on the recent series of building collapses, the Chamber President noted how the actions taken since have not delivered any value. “[The actions] have not contributed to help prevent injuries and fatalities so the need for a complete and holistic reform of the building and construction industry has never been greater. The Malta Chamber has been consistent in its calls for reform, regulation and discipline. Every day of inaction is another additional day of risk for the industry and affected third parties” Mr Xuereb warned.
Moving onto the subject of the Circular economy, the President said that this risked becoming yet another buzzword if no action was taken. Perit Xuereb said that besides the creation of new economic sectors, a transition towards the circular economy offered an opportunity to reduce Malta’s carbon footprint by lowering the consumption of raw materials.
“A transition towards a circular economy offers an opportunity to reduce Malta’s carbon footprint”
“Again, we heard a lot of positive messages from Government about the importance of the environment and use of green infrastructure. We now need to see tangible actions and results. The COVID pandemic has helped us all to realise the importance of a circular economy and the support to local production and consumption ever so much”.
David Xuereb also commented about the issues surrounding mass transportation, as he noted how the improvement of the quality of road infrastructure alone, was not enough.
“The science is clear. Research shows that increasing road capacity has an induced demand effect that results in increased traffic. Our Chamber pledged all the necessary support to Government in the creation of reforms aimed at reducing traffic, as well as in the drawing up and execution of a new e-vehicle policy. Such reforms are required to improve air quality. We should benefit from the lessons offered by the COVID experience. Working from home, when this is possible, should be encouraged and e-meetings actually work very well. Safe road infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists alike will also help us to achieve our carbon neutrality objectives we all agree to” Perit Xuereb said.
“Once again, the Chamber expects this Government to consider the implementation of a future transport policy that centres around people rather than the car. It must waste no more time in commissioning the necessary feasibility studies on rapid transit solutions that can be implemented within reasonable time frames. It must act fast on using funds secured from the new Multi Annual Financial Framework from the EU to build a multi-modal transportation backbone with metro connectivity to Gozo, and a widened ferry network between Gozo and areas in Malta. These objectives will run through many government legislatures hence it is essential for Government, Opposition and social partners to be aligned for the long-haul” he claimed.
“The science is clear. Research shows that increasing road capacity increases traffic"
In conclusion, Perit Xuereb noted how both Government and business appeared to be on the same wavelength in terms of ensuring that people’s quality of life increased commensurately with economic growth.
“We are proud that Government has, in fact, made the Chamber’s Economic Vision its own. But now Government needs to act and implement it. It must set high standards for all and ensure that good governance, discipline and quality always underpin sustainable objectives” the Chamber President concluded.