Don’t scrimp on salaries and invest in skills, PM tells social partners

Robert Abela addresses conference held by the MCESD on national productivity: “Competitiveness and productivity are measured on workers’ skills rather than on saving money from salaries.”

Prime Minister Robert Abela at the National Productivity Board
Prime Minister Robert Abela at the National Productivity Board

The Maltese economy is experiencing an important transition to make it more knowledge-intensive, greener and more diversified, Prime Minister Robert Abela has said.

Abela was addressing a conference held by the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) during which key findings from the National Productivity Report for 2022 were presented.

Abela said his government would be renewing its principles for a future economic vision to transition towards a knowledge intensive economy, a greener economy, and embracing the economic diversification that Malta offers to enhance competitiveness.

“This is necessary as economic growth during the past decade has led Malta to reach a higher level, confirmed by tangible economic results. Today, our country has the highest employment rate, the lowest unemployment rate, and the fastest-growing economy in Europe,” Abela said, saying Malta will continued to experience strong economic growth.

Abela welcomed the work carried out by social partners on national productivity. “Social dialogue is crucial for the country to continue moving forward,” Abela said, describing social partners as a source for ideas when the country faces major challenges. “Strategy and economic vision should be drafted by numerous and various people who represent everyone’s interests.”

Abela said had Malta not used its economic growth to invest in people, private consumption would have halted rather than improved even as the country faces the shock of inflation that has hit various countries during the past months. “Renewed economic and financial leadership is still crucial as Malta’s economic success is a result of a nation that keeps evolving... change is key for a country to remain competitive and attract investment.”

The Prime Minister said investment, upskilling, improved use of the country’s human resources, and increased productivity, were key to Malta’s economic growth. “I believe that it is workers who strengthen businesses in a world where competitiveness and productivity are measured on workers’ skills rather than on saving money from salaries.”

Abela said his government plans to adopt a faster and more efficient pace for its transition to a digital and greener economy.

“Investment in Malta last year stood at €3.7 billion. A decade ago, the figures were less than half this amount. The same applies for working graduates: we now have 94,000, which is more than double the figures of a decade ago... these achievements are only the start, in order to progress to the next level, change and innovation need to be at the centre of our everyday life. We need to increase productivity, strengthen the economy, and above all provide a better quality of life for families, while protecting workers by providing better conditions and an improved income.”