Brexit taskforce to be announced ‘in coming weeks’, Prime Minister says

The Brexit taskforce will focus on bringing to Malta the most strategic companies looking to relocate to an EU country following the United Kingdom's departure from the bloc

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the government has been working to attract 'business giants' to Malta in the wake of Brexit
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the government has been working to attract 'business giants' to Malta in the wake of Brexit

A Brexit taskforce aimed at attracting businesses looking to relocated to Europe following Britain’s exit from the 28-country bloc, to Malta will be announced “in the coming weeks”, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

Speaking to ONE Radio, Muscat explained that the government is working on attracting “business giants” to Malta in the wake of Brexit.

“Business giants like insurance company Starr have chosen to come to Malta after Brexit. I assure you we had harsh competition from other European countries, but we managed to convince them to come to Malta,” the Prime Minister said.

Muscat added that such negotiations take considerable time and efforts.

“This is not work that is done from one day to the next. We had to have negotiation talks with these companies and we had to come to table prepared,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will be closing negotiations with a number of other companies, as well as announcing the Brexit taskforce that will focus on bringing in the most strategic companies for the country to Malta.”

The Prime Minister reiterated that the government was a “pro-business government”, and that the business sector was observing this.

“In our globalised world, we need to keep going and attract more business to the country. It is time that we take the next step in investment.”

Muscat added that in its efforts to “prepare the country for the future”, the government was also making other preparations to bolster the economy, including creating more employment. He quoted statistics that were published earlier this week which showed that the number of people dependent on social benefits had decreased.

The Prime Minister went on to say that work had begun in order to set up the gas power station, and that the next step was to focus on the pipeline between Malta and Sicily.

“We have submitted the permit applications with the Planning Authority in Malta and the Economic Development Ministry in Italy. We are now aiming for the pipeline to be finalised within two years.”

The gas pipeline will connect Malta to the European Natural Gas Network, and it is viewed as essential for the EU to implement a well connected energy network. For this reason, the project enjoys EU funding. The pipeline, 159km long, currently has a price tag of €320 million.

Turning to development, Muscat pointed to the Kappara flyover, which was partially opened to traffic earlier this week, saying that the project was a model for infrastructure projects.

“Projects should be done on budget and on time,” he said, adding that roadworks had begun in several areas in spite of the seven-year plan to revamp all roads not yet being implemented.

Just a month after being the general election in June, the infrastructure ministry announced a €700 million project to resurface all roads in Malta and Gozo, prioritising residential areas.

An agency specifically tasked with monitoring road maintenance was due to be set up, focusing on the coordination of works.

The seven-year plan will commence once the agency is set up, Muscat said.

“We are working to ensure that the country will be future-proof; we are ready for anything the future may hold.”

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