190 projects approved during pandemic generating 1,900 new jobs – PM

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that during the year of the pandemic, a total of 190 projects had been approved, generating 1,900 new jobs with a total investment of € 140 million.

At the end of a Business Breakfast on the theme Towards a New Prosperity, the Prime Minister stated that foreign investors knew where they stood with the Government, and for this reason, they are interested in being part of the economic regeneration.

Finance and Labour Minister Clyde Caruana, who was also one of the speakers, stated that the Government would not be increasing taxes, as the business industry cannot cope with more after the pandemic.

During the year of the pandemic, Malta Enterprise approved 38 new projects with a direct foreign investment of 77 million euro, which will generate some 900 jobs. The Prime Minister stated that this contrasts with 2009, during which year 12 projects had been approved. Dr Abela added that Malta Enterprise approved an average of a new project every two days during the pandemic, adding that these companies would start operating midway through a pandemic.

During the Business Breakfast which was attended by the country’s leading businessmen and social partners, the Prime Minister stated that in the year of the pandemic, when businesses abroad were losing confidence and companies had begun shutting down, the very opposite was happening in Malta, as 27 new projects by foreign investors who already operate in Malta and Gozo were approved. The Prime Minister added that there are also 119 projects by Maltese and Gozitan businessmen wishing to expand, as well as six projects by new local investors.

“In total, 190 projects which are expected to create over 1,900 jobs. An investment of 140 million euro, 10% of which are start-ups. New companies which start operating in the middle of a pandemic, and in spite of the pandemic we achieve all this success.”
Dr Abela referred to the economic vision announced by the Government in August during a Cabinet meeting in the Chamber of Commerce building. The Prime Minister stated that the new prosperity has to be based on five pillars: governance, quality of life, education, infrastructure and the environment. Dr Abela added that this will be the main foundation of the Government’s efforts.
Finance and Labour Minister Clyde Caruana, an earlier speaker, stated that the damage caused by the pandemic was 50 times stronger than that of the recession which had hit the world in 2008. Minister Caruana stated that whilst the discussion at European level is about how governments should increase taxes, the Maltese Government will not go down this road as the business industry cannot cope with more after the pandemic. Whilst reiterating that the Government will continue to support businesses to help them remain innovative, Minister Caruana added there are more challenges besides the pandemic, including taxation and the labour sector.Economy Minister Silvio Schembri stated that the Government will be presenting a new economic plan for the next ten years. Minister Schembri added that this plan, which will be open for consultation, will serve so that the country will know what skills tomorrow’s workers will need, whilst looking towards new economic niches in order to diversify the economy.

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli stated that the country needs a non-polluting economy. Whilst referring to the need for more investment in renewable energy, Minister Dalli recognised challenges, among which the costs of solar panels and electric-powered vehicles. Dr Dalli added that there is a commitment for more incentives for people to invest in clean energy.