by Abigail Mamo | CEO, SME Chamber
Malta needs to reposition itself. Malta’s priorities as a country require a reality check to mitigate the harsh circumstances our country has started to experience. Malta is said to be a miracle economy. Smart decisions and entrepreneurial spirit have kept Malta afloat very well. Malta is however a country which is very exposed. When push comes to shove, we have seen that the common goal is side lined and protectionist measures are adopted to reserve resources. The national takes priority over the Union principle.
This works well for many countries who can be self-sufficient. Malta might never be self-sufficient, yet it should become a priority to reach as close a position to becoming self-sufficient as possible. Malta needs to build its own strength inwards and take a bold approach in so doing. Reducing our country’s exposure levels and reducing our share of total dependency must be a main priority.
The Chamber of SMEs does not believe that this job should be entrusted to the state but should be facilitated by the state. Investing in manufacturing and in developing and growing Malta’s own is not always a viable operation. Sustained support could be necessary for identified priority areas where Maltese businesses would be supported to invest and venture in.
Maltese businesses are currently going through a very worrisome patch. Everywhere they look they see costs spiralling out of control and stocks becoming scarce or unobtainable. Following two years of Covid, this level of pressure is difficult to endure. The increase in costs naturally affect consumer confidence and with tourism picking up at too slow a pace, doing business is becoming difficult.
Trying moments are however what makes us most inventive and there are many opportunities that can be explored to redirect business attention from the current frustrating situation which Malta has limited control over, into something that can generate positive energy and benefit the country as a whole.
The Malta Chamber of SMEs is looking forward to the international markets becoming more stable, yet we are cognisant of the fact that the world will take time to recover from the big shocks to the system it has experienced during the last years. Once again Malta is no player in the world game, yet Malta must do its utmost to take control of its own destiny.
Whilst appreciating fully the drive to FDIs and how beneficial they are to Malta, we cannot deny that local businesses do not feel encouraged and treated with the same level of devotion.
Diversification is key. This is true both at enterprise level and also in terms of Malta’s economic strategy. Malta must diversify and invest serious energy into building new indigenous sectors, building on Malta’s strategic position to create formidable trade routes, and become a leader in the smart and sustainable. Businesses will follow suit and are already leading in some areas. With more support and facilitation this will surely gather a lot of traction by local SMEs.
The SME Chamber has long been advocating that Malta must identify its investment priorities and goals for the country. Businesses should be the main tool through which such strategies are implemented, with all the backing necessary.
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