Chamber, minister aiming to revitalise industrial sector

Chamber of Commerce issues document outlining strategic recommendation for first ever industrial policy in Malta

The Chamber of Commerce this morning published a document that aims to boost local industrial sector.

The document, which serves as a precursor to a more comprehensive one to be published soon and outlining the country’s economy vision until 2020, includes 64 recommendations for Malta to implement its first ever industrial policy.

Amongst the suggestions outlined in the document are the boosting of a skilled labour force with competitive wages, stable energy at competitive rates, efficient and competitive transportation links, better access to finance and reasonable factory occupancy costs.

Chamber president David Curmi said that the policy is in line with Europe’s strategy, which aims to increase the output from its manufacturing sector from an average of 15.3% to 20% by 2020.

“We need to revitalize our manufacturing industry,” he said. “All across Europe there is a realization of how important it is to bring back the industrial sector.”

“There is economic proof that the countries that had strong roots in the industrial sector were the ones that came out of the economic crisis the quickest.”

Curmi explained that in the last few decades, Malta’s economy shifted from being based on a manufacturing industry to an industry based on services. “We’ve been very successful in this regard, but the problem is that the services industry does not always absorb employment like industrial activity does," he said.

Curmi was hopeful that through this document, an actual national plan would be implemented and urged for a “determined effort” on the part of all the relevant stakeholders. “As a country we need to adjust those sectors that need adjustment whilst building on what is already good. This is how we can reach prosperity.”

Meanwhile minister for the economy and competitiveness Chris Cardona said the word industry had become almost “taboo” and “a thing of the past” within European politics.

“This was a time when the industrial sector was shifting to North Africa, post-Soviet countries, India and China. But it is time that we realize that the manufacturing industry is not simply an add-on part of our economy but an intrinsic part of it.”

Cardona said that it would be useless to introduce an industrial policy without addressing a national and European approach to the sector. “We are still in time to safeguard the industry but we need to have our house in order”

“The manufacturing sector is a vital part of the economy. It provides wealth and creates thousands of jobs.”

“We now have the opportunity to implement our first ever national industrial policy and we need to be mature and clever about it.”