Maltacom "a big challenge"-
Joseph F.X. Zahra
Speaking in todays interview, Bank of Valletta chairman
Joseph F.X. Zahra describes his recent appointment as Maltacom chairman
as "another big challenge", considering the national telecoms
carriers highly dynamic operating environment, this years
market deregulation and the ensuing increased sectoral competition.
"The first test," Zahra explains, "for what has been
considered a monopoly over the years will be its [Maltacoms] ability
to compete with important international and with smaller carriers that
are operating within the local telecommunications market."
Zahra also stresses that the parastatal telecoms carrier must give due
consideration to its social obligations, todays more discerning
consumer - now that Maltacom is positioning itself as a commercial player
as it emerges from its monopolistic past and the sectors
rapid rate of technological development.
Zahra explains, "These considerations mean we have to look at Maltacoms
strategy and continuously test and review it, particularly so in an
industry as fast moving as telecommunications.
"This train of thought implies that the first initial exercise
will be to take stock of the situation and to establish a stronger strategic
orientation for the organisation within this changing environment."
A large plus to Maltacoms potential lies in the experience and
commitment of its staff, for which Zahra had words of praise, "One
extremely worthy aspect of Maltacom is the professionalism of its management.
We are dealing with people in Maltacom who are not only competent and
experienced, but who also have a lot of enthusiasm and a strong sense
of determination and commitment with which to face these challenges.
"As at the Bank, the Chairman and the Board of Directors wouldnt
be able to operate unless this professionalism and commitment exists
at an executive level. Notwithstanding the challenges of the sector,
I am very optimistic in facing these challenges because of the strong
capabilities of Maltacoms fundamentals."
Zahra, who will remain on as Bank of Valletta chairman at least until
the banks annual general meeting in December, also speaks about
the pensions dilemma, the state of the economy, BoVs recent successes
in its drives for internationalisation, diversification and credit management
and the countrys potential as a financial services centre.