Lack of skilled labour is greatest business challenge, Malta Chamber of Commerce says

Malta Chamber of Commerce president identifies labour market challenges and attacks on Malta’s economics success as areas where vigilance is needed 

Malta Chamber of Commerce president Frank V Farrugia addressing the Chamber's Annual General Meeting
Malta Chamber of Commerce president Frank V Farrugia addressing the Chamber's Annual General Meeting

The shortage of human resources across the entire spectrum of employment is the most important challenge businesses in Malta are facing, Malta Chamber of Commerce President Frank V. Farrugia has said.

Speaking at the opening address of the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting, Farrugia emphasised that labour market challenges, and the prevention of the constant internal and external attacks on Malta’s economic success, were the two main areas where the country had to be particularly vigilant.

Farrugia said the Chamber was suggesting a number of measures to address the scarcity of skills problem, namely implementing a night-shift measure whereby the cost of night and shift labour is reduced through a national insurance discount mechanism; starting a campaign promoting Malta to foreign workers; setting up a fast-track VISA scheme for non-EU workers; and looking into which public sector workers in overmanned areas could be encouraged to switch to the private sector in cases of overmanning.

Measures related to public holidays compensation or extending parental leave should not be extended, Farrugia said, as this would negatively impact labour market by reducing effective working time,

The Chamber was also open to starting a dialogue with the authorities on addressing high accommodation costs for local and foreign workers, although it remained strongly against government rent control.

Turning to the issue of attacks on Malta’s reputation as a worthy centre for international business, Farrugia stressed that any instances which could be interpreted as slip-ups in issues of government had to be avoied.

“Similarly, we must enhance the general sense of discipline in the country and empower the relevant authorities to ensure that no one is to behave as though he/she is above the law,” Farrugia said.

Highlighting that the Chamber maintains constructive debate with government offices throughout the year, Farrugia said it had been successful in influencing the  minimum wage increase agreement - which had been reached in April last year - in such a way so as to cushion its effects on business.

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