Maltas competitiveness in the spotlight
Today will see the close of the three-day national conference on "Maximising
Malta's Competitiveness Potential" organised by the Economics Department
and the Islands and Small States Institute of the University of Malta,
in collaboration with the Government of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
A document on competitiveness drawn up by economists Lino Briguglio
and Gordon Cordina is an advanced first draft of a proposed strategy
that has been drawn up for presentation during the conference.
The aim of the document is to enhance the flow of information and dialogue
between the social partners by drawing up a proposal for a national
competitiveness strategy as well as a programme of follow-up mechanisms,
relating to implementation, monitoring, assessment, and advocacy measures.
In todays interview, Briguglio and Cordina tell The Malta Financial
and Business Times that the need for a competitiveness strategy report
for Malta had long been felt, but so far there has not been an overarching
"Business enterprises performances are strongly
influenced by economic conditions within their national boundaries,
such as macroeconomic stability, skills and technology availability,
efficiency of resource allocation and overall costs. It is essential
for a country to be competitive in this respect, just as it is important
for firms to maintain an edge against their competitors.
"The strategy developed in this document was based on the belief
that competitiveness is a prerequisite for the improvement of living
standards of the people of Malta. Malta is practically at the full employment
stage, so that attraction of new more productive business will find
it difficult to access idle resources, but will instead induce labour
mobility and change. Such transformation requires flexibility in the
attitudes of the social partners, including employee unions, and an
efficient public administration, committed to uphold competitiveness."
The conference comprised of a series of sessions relating to the draft
document, followed by discussions. Mondays conference considered
the views of NGOs, namely the FOI, Chamber of Commerce, Gozo Business
Chamber, the GRTU, the MHRA, Farmers Association, the GWU, UHM,
CMTU and Malta Employers Association.
Yesterdays conference featured the ministries of finance and economic
affairs, tourism, education, IT and investment, transport and communications,
resources and infrastructure, as well as the Malta Council for Science
and Technology, MCESD, Central Bank, MFSA, ETC, and the respective authorities
on standards, tourism, maritime.
In todays interview Lino Briguglio and Gordon Cordina explain
how essential it is for Malta to build and sustain its competitiveness
in order to achieve its long-term development aspirations.
The interview traces several of the "ten golden rules" outlined
by the economists, namely: maintaining a stable and resilient macroeconomic
environment; fostering of innovation and research and development; providing
public administration services efficiently and transparently; and attracting
investment from local and foreign sources.
Briguglios and Cordinas report also presents a number of
strategic measures related to competitiveness requisites, and proposals
for the implementation of the strategy.
"On the threshold of joining the EU, the largest economic block
in the world, Malta should be well positioned to take advantage of emerging
challenges and opportunities to improve the well-being of its people.
As argued throughout this document, competitiveness is the main priority
for these objectives to be achieved."