25 April - 1 May 2001
Luring investment away from the competition
Economic Services Minister Josef Bonnici, last week inaugurated a new administrative building at the Mosta Technopark, he laid praise on the high-performing manufacturing sector, despite increasing competition from central and eastern Europe and certain North African countries. The sector also holds the promise of further reducing Maltas unemployment rate, with the Technopark alone expected to account for some 700 jobs by the end of the year.
By Josef Bonnici
This occasion coincides with a most interesting period for our local industry. One is pleased to note that, despite the growing international competition especially from Central and Eastern European countries and some North African countries, the past two years have been quite successful for the manufacturing sector with increases in sales, exports, value added and employment.
Sales in the manufacturing sector, in the past two years, rose by Lm 327 million or nearly 40 per cent to Lm 1.1 billion, while total net investment in the same sector reached nearly Lm 75 million last year, up from Lm 23 million in 1998 and Lm 35 million in 1999. Over the same period, the Malta Development Corporation approved no fewer then 65 new projects along with 47 expansions of existing enterprises. Together, these projects account to an anticipated capital investment of Lm 34.3 million and the creation of 4,100 new jobs within three years.
Some of these new projects operate in the IT sector, which this small but well-organised industrial estate primarily represents.
May I recall that this site, covering some 62,000 sq. metres of land, started its transformation in the early nineties into a new estate to house medium-sized electronic industries. It now consists of 23 units, all leased to German, Italian, British, French and Maltese hi-tech companies. Between them, these employ some 500 workers and it is envisaged that, by the end of the year, the Technopark will attract a work force of around 700 workers.
The Mosta Technopark is a fundamental component in the governments current strategy to attract foreign direct investment to Malta, enhancing our technological skills base and improving the capacity for higher technologies and increased value added.
Investment promotion is becoming a greater challenge. Aware of the new realities, we are now offering to both existing and prospective investors a new attractive incentive package to enhance Maltas competitiveness in the attraction of new investment and promoting the expansion of existing companies.
But incentives alone will not be enough. We need to provide the proper and improved factory space and infrastructure.
We need to provide and secure the best possible environment in our industrial estates. To achieve this objective, we are moving forward with our planned re-organisation of the MDC to establish a distinct Estates Management unit that is properly focused and better equipped for this important function. Our strategy is to enhance the MDCs capacity to develop and support our industrial estates, whilst devolving as much of their management as possible to the actual tenants.
We not only encourage, but also fully support, the setting up of tenants associations within the industrial estates administered by the Malta Development Corporation. The objective is to delegate the management of services related to the common grounds within industrial estates to these associations. Their role is to protect and improve the environment of industrial estates, to provide and ensure adequate security for the tenants and to promote the estates corporate image. We firmly believe that there is no better way to achieve this than through the direct and active involvement of the tenants themselves.
I conclude by expressing once again my satisfaction at the official
launch of the Technopark Tenants Association, to whom I augur every