The Bigger Picture

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by Mark Aquilina | Founder, NOUV

“We all know what challenges businesses are facing. But more importantly, besides addressing these challenges, we need to look at the bigger picture by addressing the country’s most pressing priorities,” says Mark Aquilina, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of NOUV.

After two years which saw businesses the world over united in their struggle against a global pandemic which no one ever saw coming, many of the same businesses are now being compelled to live with the aftermath of that pandemic which is the disruption occurring in the supply chain. 

“This must be coupled with the raging conflict between Ukraine and Russia which will undoubtedly also leave economic repercussions such as uncertainty and energy cost increases. These in turn, are causing the price increase of raw materials which is leading to the global inflation being experienced. Not to mention the lack of human resources across many sectors, partially also driven by Covid-19.”

Mark Aquilina’s concern is businesses in Malta and how they are bound to be affected by the wider market forces.

“The indications, pre-Ukrainian war, were that domestic demand would be one of the drivers leading the expansion in economic activity. We now know, and we have started seeing it happening, that when the price of natural resources and raw materials increase, the consumer will feel the pinch and spend less. Malta has its tourism sector to look forward to and we all hope this year will be a better one however, the lack of resources in the industry remains a question mark.” 

Pondering the country’s priorities going forward, Mark Aquilina lists a number of measures and the first of these priorities in his opinion, should be the lowering of tax rates and the modernisation of the respective legislations. 

“However, I have other priorities in mind as well. One of these is for Malta to get off the grey list as quickly as possible, though this does not depend entirely on us. In parallel with this, government and regulators need to intervene and bring some sense of normality 

and equanimity in the local banking system. We also need to push on digitising the island further so that we can bolster transparency across public administration and services, especially in the law courts. The latter needs modernisation across the whole ecosystem.”

Mark explains how at NOUV, a consultancy firm offering a complete portfolio of management and financial advisory services coupled with a range of business support services, the company’s vision is to steer businesses’ journeys towards a more sustainable future.

“If we want our businesses to operate more sustainably, Malta needs to ensure a sustainable environment. The country needs to seriously get its act together to start thinking long term when it comes to urban planning, the tangible reduction of carbon emissions, ensuring more open spaces and a modern transportation infrastructure that truly works.” 

“But over and above all this, a modern Malta will need to take the governance aspect seriously, and this can only happen if we have a political system that is well paid, attracts quality and includes technocrats in the system.”

“It is always important to think long-term. Vision, after all, is about thinking long-term and planning the journey accordingly. But right now, businesses have to adapt to a fast-evolving landscape. Therefore, they need to keep a close eye on their respective supply chain and adapt quickly to avoid disruptions by looking for alternatives closer to home. This can also mean that the local manufacturing scene can take unexpected positive twists and outcomes.”

“Secondly, local businesses should look at opportunities in emerging foreign markets and build alliances accordingly. Businesses in the same industry could also consider teaming up to explore areas of collaboration, synergies, and the possibility of joint exploration of new markets. Finally, innovation need to be placed at the forefront of business, if they aim to deliver high-quality services or products,” concluded Mark. 

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