Communications Authority aims to make Malta first WiFi state – Jose Herrera

Malta Enterprise expected to approve some €7.3 million worth of investments in the coming three years - Chris Cardona

Economy Minister Chris Cardona and Economic Growth Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera
Economy Minister Chris Cardona and Economic Growth Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera

The Malta Communications Authority is working towards making Malta one of the first WiFi states around the world, Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Growth Jose Herrera said at a public consultation.

The meeting, part of a series of cabinet consultations with the public titled ‘Gvern Li Jisma’, was also addressed by Economy Minister Chris Cardona.

Herrera explained that the authority already had some 192 WiFi hotspots around the island and it aim to have 300 by the end of 2016. He added that the authority was also looking forward to a number of technological developments that would mean, better and faster access to all the members of the public.

 In his address, Herrera pointed out that the government sought to promote ICT and technology in various ways, including the MCA’s launch of a national strategy to promote e-commerce, which was becoming increasingly popular around the world .   

“MITA  is also working to encourage ever more students to embark on a career in ICT, including education projects with the University of Malta for instance,” Herrera said.

He added that ICT needed to be made more attractive and ‘sexier’ for women as the number of females in the industry is still rather low.

Talking about the positive state of the economy,Cardona said that Malta Enterprise was expected to approve some €7.3 million worth of investments in the coming three years. He added that the entity had already approved €143 million in projects that were expected to generate some 2,500 new job opportunities in the near future.

“The department of commerce has also seen some 1,400 licenses varying from import and retail licenses among others,” he said.

“The country’s retail sector has also seen a 9% improvement over last year and exports increased by 20% between January and April.”

Cardona said that the government was working hard to make Malta an economic hub and maintaining the country’s position as a leading European country.

Herrera also pointed out that gaming had resulted in an added €35 million injection into the Maltese economy and that it had seen a 19% growth during the last year. He mentioned the changes in the laws governing casinos on cruise liners had already reaped some tangible benefits.

“The creation of Gaming Malta, which was based on the success of Finance Malta, had resulted in a vast number of new employment posts,” he said adding that the government was looking forward to launching a new gaming academy to encourage more young people to embark on a career in the industry and give them the necessary qualifications for the purpose.

Herrera also referred to the new maritime policy, saying that it had been created with the aim of creating around 6,000 new jobs. He explained that the policy stipulated the creation of five clusters, chosen by the relevant stakeholders and that the government would supply cluster managers to ensure more connectivity between the public and private sectors without excessive intrusion.

“We aim to make Malta a maritime hub by November this year,” he said.

He added that the maritime sector also included the Malta Freeport, which was the biggest in the EU.

“The government has a concrete vision based on good governance, helping operators and making Malta an international logistical hub.”