1 AUGUST 2001

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Stop hurting local industries
Letter from Ghaqda Imprendituri Maltin (GHIMA)

The Ghaqda Imprendituri Maltin (GHIMA) expresses solidarity with Federation of Industry (FOI) and the lifting of levies. At the moment everybody is discussing the issue of agricultural products processing and related matters in the agricultural sector. There is a sudden, general awakening.

This is because sectors where the removal of levies has already started, the ensuing disaster is becoming evident. Equally obvious is the fact that Government is not serious in handling the industrial sector in our country. The Government is obsessed with one object only: joining the EU whatever the cost.

Organisations, including those, which in the recent past supported Government, are realising that Government has only hollow words to offer where serious restructuring, particularly in the public sector, is needed.

What GHIMA vociferously declared at its inception is now happening. The economy has ground to a halt and it is becoming increasingly evident that Government has neither the capability nor the honesty; much less the courage to take measures hopefully to get the country back on the right track. This our fair and industrious country greatly deserves and surely needs.

GHIMA was founded precisely for the reasons that are being mentioned in the agricultural sector now. A mall market, an economy and productivity on a low scale, the dearth of advanced technology which cannot be applied due to the size and nature of the market and so on and so forth. The list of valid reasons is endless. Yet Malta boasts many experts and professors well versed in books written by even more knowledgeable professors who draw their conclusions from their own markets, which are by far bigger than our small island nation.

GHIMA is convinced that the arguments Dr Alfred Sant raised over the last couple of months regarding the realism of a small market like ours and the mention made also by EU pundits that Malta is a special case should give us courage. In the same way GHIMA fearlessly attacked the lifting of levies concerning its members’ sector, it wants to express equal solidarity with the farming and agricultural sectors as well as the other manufacturing sectors, which depend indirectly on them.

Government is posing a threat to the livelihood of thousands of workers and their families with its obsession, which is increasingly leading to economic stagnation, loss of profits, jobs, and above all, the loss of hope that things might fail in place again. The lifting of protective measures, which ensured that our small industries could compete with giants, is nothing, more than the mindless whim of a few comfortable opportunists, some of who have never worked in their whole life. The protective umbrella should be extended with fairness over other sectors that are obviously important to the Maltese economy and where arguments for it are valid as can be deduced from the consequences currently emerging.

If the current situation is allowed to continue unabated neither the ever soaring debt nor those few companies on which Maltese exports depend will be able to avert the disaster we are being led into, we have reached the edge of the precipice.

On the other hand GHIMA has noticed that Government has no own vision for local industries and is doing little else than indulging In pathetic knee-jerk reactions to every initiative taken by the Leader of the Opposition.

GHIMA strongly believes that the local market should not be tampered with and no further harm inflicted on it.

GHIMA continues to underline its view that unbridled capitalism and the absolutely free market do not apply to many countries with which ours evidently belongs. The new appeal, which makes more sense, is for "localisation" rather than "globalisation" spurred on by multinationals over which no one exerts any control.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt