Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina has stressed that Malta’s infrastructure cannot continue to lag behind the nation’s economic growth.
His comments came in a panel discussion during EY Malta’s Future Realised Conference, held on Wednesday (today) at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. During the event, the results of the corporate service provider’s latest Attractiveness Survey were presented.
Aside from Mr Aquilina, the panel discussion, moderated by EY Malta and Cyprus Country Managing Partner Ronald Attard, also included MeDirect Bank CEO Arnaud Denis, Bank of Valletta CEO Kenneth Farrugia, HSBC Malta CEO Geoffrey Fichte, APS Bank CEO Marcel Cassar, and Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia. The aim of the discussion was to get the general feeling of Malta’s business leaders about the results, together with what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable economic future.
During the discussion, Mr Aquilina, who is at the helm of one of Malta’s largest brewing, production and distribution groups, highlighted that there is a need for Malta’s infrastructure to stop being “outperformed” by economic growth.
“We can’t have our infrastructure playing catch-up with economic growth,” he said.
He was referring to a section in the survey that stated that 88 per cent of investors consider Malta’s planning and preparedness for population growth in terms of infrastructure to be inadequate. Out of the 130 existing foreign direct investment (FDI) companies that responded, just six per cent were positive about this area.
“Our infrastructure is a consequence of the economic fabric that we have,” Mr Aquilina said.
He stated that Malta needs to focus more on sectors which are “less labour intensive” and ones that are better suited to “incorporating technology and automation”.
“We need to see what type of economic model that we want. We need to be selective and focus on productivity, not only in terms of economic value added, but also in terms of quality of life,” he continued.
“There are some areas that with a bit of polishing up, we can turn Malta into a better place to live. We cannot live in denial, as issues such as infrastructure, skill shortages, and many others, are all within our reach,” Mr Aquilina pointed out.
He concluded that there are “many opportunities”, but at the same time, there is also “a lot more” that still needs to be done.
Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina
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