[WATCH] Gozo facing worker shortage, minister says

Justyne Caruana says 4,000 new jobs in 10 years will be created in Gozo

Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana
Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana

Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana has said that focussing on the link between Malta and Gozo requires a deeper understanding on what people travel for.

Interviewed on Saviour Balzan’s Xtra Sajf on TVM, Caruana said there were different sides to the mobility issue between the two islands: the touristic and commercial aspect, and residents.

“While we must ensure that residents are catered for, we cannot forget the touristic aspect. I can’t promote Gozo as a tourist destination and the first thing they do is spend three hours in the queue,” Caruana said.

According to the minister, things are changing very quickly, and the ministry must ensure that it keeps up with the times.

“Last year the Gozo Channel ferried around six million people. This year in the first five months we have already seen an increase of 50,000. Once you see these numbers, one immediately realises that the Gozo Channel can’t operate as it used to,” Caruana said.

Asked what the ministry is doing to overcome the new challenges, Caruana stated that the fourth ferry is already in place, while a new ticketing system will be introduced in the coming months.

On what the government is doing to encourage people to live in Gozo, Caruana said that space for businesses to base their operations in Gozo is currently being created at the Xewkija Industrial Centre, while a new business centre is also in the pipeline.

Caruana also stated that digital connectivity must be enhanced in order for Gozo to be seen as a permanent destination for businesses.

“A second fibre-optic cable is currently being installed,” she said.

Caruana estimated that in 10 years’ time, around 4,000 new jobs will be made available in Gozo. But like elsewhere, Gozo was also facing a shortage of workers.

“Business are already coming to us to supply them with workers, and this is a reality we need to work on,” she stated.

 

More in Xtra