27 Dec 00 – 2 Jan 2001

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12 hard business months but …

The year comes to an end and good business takes a look at the last 12 months.
They have not been easy but if there has been a mark in this year’s trends it is the argument that the free market brings with it diversity, growth, competition, birth and death.
There have been the usual dead pan commentaries from armchair visionaries who castigate the opening of the market because it will infringe on their monopolies.
In the free market everyone is given the opportunity to enter and take a risk.
That risk does comply with the natural rules of an economy – and it would be interesting to look at the number of business that have opened up and the ones that have closed.
If we take a cursory look at small retail outlets we note the large number of risks taken by individuals or groups looking for a quick buck.
There are those who succeed not only through good salesmanship or marketing but by a number of considerations that have an impact on their sales. Consumer trends, siting, service record, and budgetary considerations are some of them.
The more entrepreneurial do not stop at buying and reselling, they indulge in creating new products. These are the persons with a vision and the ability to take a challenge seriously.
There are others who argue that the entrepreneurs who refuse to change and look beyond will face the guillotine and this is not entirely untrue.
Competition will bring new fatalities but it will mean that more people will be creating increased cash flows for their new businesses. Wealth is better distributed today because of less monopolistic tendencies.

Brussels to dominate 2001

The year 2001 will be the battleground for the “yes” for Europe. We should not undervalue the need to be vigilant. In this respect, vigilance means not selling out to Europe. In other words, being more Catholic than the Pope and allowing the Brussels technocrats to dictate the rule as if we were some impotent country without the ability to negotiate and present different case scenarios.
Let us not be misunderstood, we are firm believers in Europe, we believe that we must move forward to Europe but we should not do this in the typical frenzy of a teenage boy and girl unwilling to see the dangers of fast living and driving.
We have to be more insistent and serious in our demands and we have to argue for more leeway – we are, after all, a small nation that can, and would, easily suffer if transformation takes place at all levels at the same time.
This should be the briefing from the opposition, but it is not – but it is a simple “nein” to everything remotely linked to European Union accession.
We have said it before and we will say again, we believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of the Maltese and Gozitans and in their ability to look up to that vast 500 million citizen plus market – and take a bite at it.

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