Sustainable economic growth towards improving the quality of life

Ministers and stakeholders debate an economic vision that seeks to improve workers’ income and investments in technology in a bid to achieve balance between sustainable growth and a better quality of life for the next 10 years

Silvio Schembri
Silvio Schembri

Economic growth must be sustainable in order to protect traditional industries, attract new niches and ensure a high quality of life for both today’s Maltese and Gozitan families and those of tomorrow, economy and industry minister Silvio Schembri said on Tuesday.

He was addressing one of a series of public consultation seminars, seminars which discuss each of the five pillars described in the Economic Vision 2021-2031 document for Malta.

The session, organised by MIMCOL, addressed the first pillar, sustainable economic growth towards improving the quality of life by 2031, with the participation of the equality, research and innovation minister Owen Bonnici, energy, enterprise and sustainable development minister Miriam Dalli and social justice and solidarity minister Michael Falzon. Various stakeholders from governmental entities, private entities and non-governmental organizations participated.

“The economy we want to regenerate is one that makes maximum use of the resources which grant us a competitive advantage, such as climate, human resources and the established industries in our country. This should lead to further improvement in workers’ income and technology investments in a bid to achieve balance between sustainable growth and a better quality of life, for the next 10 years,” Schembri said.

He explained how the document concretely proposes the maximum use of the diving sector, exploring a new niche of marine biotechnology, a sector which is estimated to be worth more than five billion dollars a year.

He also said that the government is looking to utilise the medical sector in Malta which is considered to be of the highest quality by the European Union, in order to attract medical tourism, which includes the cosmetics products sector.

He said he was determined to turn negative perceptions, such as Malta’s diminutive size, into opportunities, by expanding further research with foreign companies in the field of digital and sustainable technologies.

This means Malta can serve as a place of research for sectors such as autonomous driving, as is already being conducted in Greece and Cyprus. He said that he is also anticipating the use of advanced services which already exist in the financial sector, among others, so that our country is at the forefront of the satellite recording sector, as well as to see Malta as an international arbitration centre.

“This does not mean neglecting our traditional niches, but we need to be proactive so that where investment is required such as in advanced manufacturing, we ensure that those resources, both in technology and skills are nurtured,” Schembri said.

Falzon said that this is a solid Government which holistically looks after the best interests of families and businesses.

Owen Bonnici and Michael Falzon
Owen Bonnici and Michael Falzon

He noted how several social milestones have been achieved during the past eight years, especially when it comes to the eradication of poverty and social exclusion.

He spoke about the huge increase in social benefits, so much so that during the year 2020, a record expenditure of over one billion euros on social benefits alone was made.

“All this encourages us to build a socio-economic vision for the coming years, to create a resilient economy that serves the people and helps everyone enjoy a better quality of life,” Falzon said.

Dalli said Malta must continue to work for a strong economy that looks at environmental sustainability and the quality of life for all.

Miriam Dalli
Miriam Dalli

“We are doing this through a number of various incentives and schemes that are not only helping our companies at present but will support them going forward. We are working to help companies make the digital leap and be sustainable. In this way we must ensure recovery, a better quality of life and quality jobs,” she said.

Bonnici said that the post-pandemic national strategy is an effort of an entire government which is offering a vision built on 149 initiatives for tomorrow’s Malta, functioning in a changed world due to the pandemic. He said that the economic vision in turn goes into more detail on how Maltaa will achieve its economic goals in the next generation.

He said Malta has three opportunities it must pursue in the coming years: that is, to bolster the skills of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce, to overcome environmental challenges, particularly those related to the goal of a zero-carbon economy, and finally to build a robust innovation ecosystem in our country. On the latter he said that he strongly believes in the talent of Maltese researchers and in our country as a place where research and innovation come to life.

The economic vision document emphasizes that in order for Malta to become future-proof in the sector of sustainable economic growth towards improving the quality of life by 2031, various measures must be implemented, including:

• Redefining measures previously considered successful

• Support and sustain investment as a key economic driver

• Protecting and enhancing competitiveness

• Improving productivity through digital channels

• Strengthening economic sectors and developing new niches

All those interested in participating in the national consultation process can visit to submit their comments.

The consultation process will remain open until 31 July 2021.