Competitiveness index slippage must be addressed, Chamber of Commerce says

Malta must prioritise competitiveness in Budget 2020, Chamber of Commerce says after slippage in WEF’s competitiveness index 

Malta’s main body of industrialists and business has called on the government to “take all action possible” to enhance the island’s attractiveness to investors. 

The Chamber of Commerce was reacting to news that Malta had lost two places in the Global Competitiveness Index published by the rich nations’ club World Economic Forum. 

Covering 141 economies, the GCI claims to measure national competitiveness by creating indexes that measure a set of institutions, policies and factors to determine a country’s level of productivity. 

Malta is now ranked the 38th most competitive country in the world, down two places from 2018, after losing 0.2 points to get a score of 68.5. It ranked 19th out of the EU bloc measured by the GCI. 

Malta however was ranked top country for macro-economic stability, its best performing indicator, and 26th globally for best healthcare. These were among the 12 underlying indicators that make up the global score. 

“The Chamber has been consistently vociferous about the latest shortcomings exposed by the World Economic Forum namely the soundness of institutions, skills, market structure and financial systems, in its cause to champion competitiveness,” the Chamber said in a statement. 

Competitiveness was once again top of the list of the Chamber’s pre-Budget proposals for 2020, as has been for many years. “Malta cannot afford to erode its inherent competitive advantage ingredients further and delay addressing of these fundamental aspects of competitiveness, in the interest of preserving its current success. International institutions and investors are watching, measuring and sending warning signals of their own.” 

The Chamber called on the government to take the opportunity of Monday’s Budget to ensure that key institutions in the island are adequately equipped, and headed by the right professional people to guide the country towards better competitiveness ranking required by our economic ambitions as a global player in the old and new economy. 

“All parties must work collectively to preserve the foundations of recent economic success and regain lost ground experienced in recent months,” the Chamber said. 

Overall, Malta surpassed Lithuania, which climbed one step to 39, and fell below Poland, which stayed put in 37th position. The most competitive nations were Singapore, which pipped the United States, which fell second, followed by Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan. 

In 2016, Malta climbed eight places to 40th. 

When all the underlying indexes are broken down, slippage occurred across 39 of the 103 individual indexes used to calculate the overall GCI – these included indexes on organised crime, reliability of police services, judicial independence, freedom of the press, burden of government regulation, legal frameworks, incidence of corruption; while other indexes on social capital, infrastructure, air services, internet connectivity, schooling, and women in the workforce all increased. 

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