Sharing his opinion on the island’s post COVID-19 recovery as part of a cover story on Busines Now magazine, Malta Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Kurt Farrugia says that going forward, the resilience of the Maltese economy, industry and employers will be crucial.
“Currently, business sentiment is cautious, but still positive. The element of trust among all the stakeholders, including employees and their employers is a remarkable factor in underlining Malta’s ability to bounce back,” he says.
“Government is also committed towards assisting the Maltese economy to recover, and the Economic Recovery Plan announced in May clearly highlights this commitment to not only bounce back, but also to channel our resources in the right direction, namely by helping businesses attain profitability by regenerating and investing in a more sustainable business model with a green and digital mindset at the core of their operations.”
As Malta’s economic development agency tasked with attracting new FDI, Mr Farrugia says that while 2020 was a difficult year, Malta’s economy was in a good position to weather the storm due to its diverse niches. Indeed, in 2020, Malta Enterprise managed to attract more single FDI projects compared to 2019, which he says were the outcome of years of discussion.
“However, investors still believed in Malta’s potential to bounce back. Malta’s success in dealing with the pandemic, its impeccable vaccine rollout, low unemployment rates and being the first in Europe to reach herd immunity, did not go unnoticed. Malta’s proactive approach offered the clarity required for them to seal the deal,” says the CEO. “The same positive trends in relation to FDI are still being felt in 2021.”
Throughout the past year, the agency has been appealing to Maltese businesses to look at their models and engage in change and adaptation. “Businesses that think everything will return to the reality of 2019 will find that they are mistaken – customer needs and expectations have changed. In light of this, Malta Enterprise is managing schemes which assist businesses on various levels,” says Mr Farrugia.
These include the Change to Grow scheme, aimed at helping businesses carry out an analysis of their business model to identify where they can implement change to be more effective and sustainable, as well as the Smart and Sustainable Investments scheme, among others. Mr Farrugia insists that changing one’s operation to be more efficient, agile and technology enabled can ultimately lead to penetration into new markets as well as reaching new niches of local and international customers.
This interview forms part of a larger cover story featuring expert opinions on Malta’s post-COVID recovery and business sentiment, which appeared on the first edition of BusinessNow magazine.
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