De Marco: Government ‘must think outside the box’ to incentivise private sector

Following EU's decision to restrict fiscal incentives to attract foreign investment, PN deputy leader calls on government to find alternative solutions

Mario de Marco flanked by Roberta Metsola and Stefano Mallia (Photo: Ray Attard)
Mario de Marco flanked by Roberta Metsola and Stefano Mallia (Photo: Ray Attard)

The government’s failure to secure fiscal incentives for industrial investment requires it to think “outside the box” and find alternative solutions, PN deputy leader Mario de Marco said.

Addressing a press conference outside the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta, de Marco expressed the opposition’s concern at the economic slowdown, especially in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

“Although the country’s economy is growing, a number of sectors are not doing well,” de Marco said, adding that this was confirmed by the European Commission’s report on the Maltese economy.

Pointing out that Malta registered the largest reduction in exports out of the EU28 and a 15% reduction in imports, de Marco warned government not to take the economy for granted.

“Despite the economy’s stability over the last few years when the rest of Europe was in crisis, it doesn’t mean that the economy can be left unattended. The government must help the private sector which is the motor of economy,” he said.”

Earlier, the PN lambasted government for its failure in convincing the EU against reducing fiscal incentives for industrial investment.

Flanked by European Parliament candidates Roberta Metsola and Stefano Mallia, de Marco asked “How can we attract new investment when incentives have been reduced? State incentives are necessary and government must somehow think outside of the box and find alternative solutions.”

He went on to urge government to focus on all economic sectors and not only the successful ones, such as financial services.

Earlier today, deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech said that government could not be blamed for the EU’s decision to restrict Malta’s fiscal incentives for industrial investment.

He said government was faced with a "fait accompli" since the European Commission had adopted the funding guidelines for industry in February 2013.

However, in a statement issued this afternoon, the PN rubbished Grech’s claims and blamed the reduction in incentives on the government’s “incompetence” in negotiating with the EU.

The opposition also denied that the decision was taken last year, adding that the decision was taken this month and government had 14 months to address the situation.