Yesterday we followed the results of the survey on the attractiveness of EY.
# Malta’s attractiveness fell by a worrying 25 percentage points. During all the questions asked, the figures spoke of economic management in urgent need of revision.
The survey is conducted among our most valuable business leaders, those who attract foreign direct investment to our shores, those who invest capital and time on our soil, on our people. For the past 20 years the survey has talked about their ambition to grow, expand, invest more. This year, for the first time, responses to Malta’s attractiveness hit below the 50% – 37% mark considering Malta currently attractive as an investment destination. A 25% drop from 62% last year. Last year was already a fall in itself compared to previous years.
While the government plans to collect 34% more VAT, relying on an economic miracle next year, businesses are telling us they have no intention of expanding operations or investment. In fact, while 53% of businesses were considering more investments last year, this year that figure dropped to 39%.
Following the figures, there is the worrying truth about Malta’s current economic and political management. Greylisting together with the obvious lack of foresight or control of the effects of the Maltese government and the way they come out of it are sending all the bad messages to local and foreign investors. In addition, the survey identifies two other very important points, the business’s own quest for sustainability and the growing concerns with a weaker and weaker government in Brussels, prone to sovereignty concessions. of all important taxes of Malta.
On Monday we saw a glimmer of hope with direct and indirect responses to all the concerns arising from EY’s business survey. The budget answer of the opposition by Bernard Grech related to the obvious open questions such as greylisting, where Grech explains that a change of leadership sends a clear message to the international community that the Maltese want to start a new page.
Grech also mentions the need to support by direct measures businesses that feel the weight of the gray list, for example through support with insurance services and due diligence charges through assistance. state-sponsored.
More importantly however, Grech paves the way for new growth by identifying the causes that could attract new FDI interest. One idea I found particularly interesting is the proposal to set up a new regime to attract new businesses to zero-tax innovation for the first million in profits and the proposal to abstain from taxation for reinvested profits in the development of company, research and innovation of human capital development.
The above ideas combined with a clearly informed pitch on attracting investments in the two main pillars of the green economy and the digital revolution, with a strong emphasis on improving skills with the help of EU funding, puts Bernard Grech in a better light compared to the incumbent government, as judged by the businesses themselves.
On a more general note, Bernard Grech’s tone in Parliament on Monday was a breath of fresh air for Maltese politics. I found that it is significantly different from what we normally follow in the Maltese Parliament. First, Grech acknowledges the good points proposed by the Labor government in Minister Caruana’s budget announcements. More importantly, the Leader of the Opposition will then build on, creatively, the Government’s own proposals, and propose ways to deliver them better.
It should be as I was raised with the tune of ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, or because of an innate desire to see Maltese politics mature for a discussion about the policies and political choices to be made, rather than skipping a scandal. for one another, but I feel that Bernard’s proactive pitch provides the opportunity for a national discussion on Malta’s key policy options. Questions about sustainability and reputation and growing doubts about the Government’s competence and vision to manage our economy should be the basis of that discussion.
I think in this country we discuss too much the past and the future almost nothing. Grech’s future-oriented proposals to reconsider Malta’s foreign investment regime, with a focus on innovation and paving the way for new industrial sectors in the green economy and the digital transition, surely deserves a nationwide debate.
Robert Abela seems intent on calling an election ahead of its time this year. The attraction survey confirms Abela’s reasons and his imperative need for that election. Abela is risking it. The glamor of labor propaganda is being tested by the realities on the ground, where people are paying the price for the government’s incompetence and its greed to feed the few apparatchiks at the expense of the rest of us. Electrogas and Vitals contracts are now revealed as the massive parasites on a declining, debt-ridden economy of 4 million a day.
Whatever Abela decides, we find ourselves ready, with a vision, policies and proposals to put on the table for discussion across the country. They will strive to ridicule them with small points. They will strive to cut serious discussions with irony and drama, but we don’t fall into that trap. We believe that the people of Malta deserve to be able to make their decisions based on clear political choices. Then let people decide.
Peter Agius, PN spokesman and MEP candidate