EDITORIAL | Wednesday, 05 March 2008
Elections have a nasty habit of disrupting the economy and creating a sense of uncertainty either because the election campaign seems to put many business decisions on hold and/or because of certain statements made by the respective party leaders, which tend to create an air of uncertainty.
In the run up to this election there are no signs that the economy has slowed down, although we are certain that many a business decision has been placed on hold till the outcome is known to all and sundry.
This newspaper augurs that whatever the result of the election no sense of uncertainty, instability or tension of any sort is created. The present state of the economy is buoyant with a generous dose of foreign investment, the highest working force ever, record tourism arrivals in six years and the lowest level of unemployment.
All talk of a stagnant economy is cheap political talk as our membership of the European Union has led to much business interest in the country and to a growth in the economy.
The main business question facing the electorate is the management of the European project and how we can seize all the opportunities available to us. This project must be managed with great care and all politicians must realise, especially the leader of the Opposition, that any loose talk on re-opening the negotiations will only create a sense of uncertainty, which the country can well do without.
It is crucial that our reliability as a European partner is guaranteed and that whatever the outcome there will be a sense of continuity in our management of the European project.
The yardstick of our economic performance will remain the Maastricht criteria now that we are members of euro zone, which has given our country an extra impetus in its business credibility and reliability. The euro has created immense trading and investment opportunitities for us, which should carry on developing so long that there is a sense of stability in the country.
The business agenda for the future government should be the encouragement of foreign investment, which is crucial for us to achieve the growth rates being projected by the two major parties.
We augure that soon after the election the new government attempts yet again to have a social pact agreement to see the economy through the choppy international waters ahead. Such a pact will create a framework for business and social development in the country. It will ensure that serious and trustful dialogue takes place in the national interest. A good economy works in the interests of all.
A continuation of the private public partnership model should be encouraged as it will further role back the frontiers of the state and allow the private sector to carry on expanding. The motor of our economy remains the private sector and as such its space for expansion should be widened and all the bureaucracy that bogs down smooth business should be ripped apart. The policies of liberalisation and privatisation should continue to enhance competitiveness in the economy.
The new economy in the form of IT companies and other activities related to the new economy like gambling, need to be given all the space necessary for expansion.
The tourism product also needs to be bolstered with more low cost airlines attracted to our shores making Malta more accessible.
We ask our readers to make an informed decision next Saturday, based not only on what is beneficial to their families but also what is beneficial to the country at large. Ultimately a thriving economy will create wealth that trickles down to all social strata.
05 March 2008
ISSUE NO. 525