24th October 2018

The Gozo Business Chamber's view on the BUDGET 2019
The Gozo Buisness Chamber looks with satisfaction at the economic progress being registered by the country and will continue to strive so that the island region of Gozo will achieve the same economic performance as that of the whole nation. Gozo needs particular attention and specific incentives targeted at attracting investment to the island and helping the businesses already operating here to succeed.

The Chamber would like to note some positive measures which this budget has introduced namely those related to help being given to patients and their carers to travel to Malta, assisting students to find adequate residences, and reimbursing government workers and those in the private sector with part of their travel expenses.

It is also noted that Government has retained the favourable rate of 2% tax on this transfer of property, which has been an instigator of property transfers over the last year.

The Chamber notes also Government's pledge to have the Barts School finished and accepting new students and the project being undertaken at Hondoq ir-Rummien so that Gozo will have better quality water.

As one of the foremost promoters of the subsea tunnel between Gozo and Malta, the Chamber notes with satisfaction that the budget speech reports that a seminar was held in September where the results of the geological surveys conducted earlier on were communicated. The Chamber would be pleased to know what were these results and will be insisting with the relevant authorities to have this information communicated publicly.

The Chamber would have wished that Government shows more commitment in the acquisition of a fourth ferry to ply between the two islands, the fast ferry service and an airlink. Neither do we feel that enough is being done to better the road infrastructure on the island, nor for the provision of better parking facilities to serve Gozo's main retail concentration in Victoria.

We feel that Gozo can perform better and participate more fully in the generation of wealth being created in Malta, if businesses on the island are given adequate tools to make up for the additional costs and other handicaps related to double insularity.

15th October 2018

The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany organised a seminar with the theme “How to instigate culture change in Occupational Health and Safety - A German Perspective”.

The Seminar was held on Friday October 12th at the University of Malta - Gozo Campus.

The President of The Gozo Business Chamber, Mr Joseph Borg, in his opening address thanked Ambassador Designate Mr Walter Hassmann for his presence. Mr Borg emphasized on how the business environment is continually evolving.

Following the opening address, a panel discussion was held, which was chaired by Mr. Michael Galea, Vice-President of the GBC. In his introductory remarks, Mr. Galea thanked Mr Olaf Reike for supporting this seminar. He also emphasised on how the Gozo Business Chamber seeks to continually improve the Gozitan Business environment.

The members of the panel were the following:
- Dr Ulrike Bollman ( Head of International Cooperation, Institute of work and Health ( IAG) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV));
- Mr Alfred Lia graduated from the university of Malta in Occupational Health and safety. He has vast experience in this sector and also worked with different organisations. He heads the occupational health and safety section of the GWU;
- Mr Saviour Farrugia Senior manager at OHSA; and
- Perit Godwin Sultana – Directorate Projects and Development, Ministry for Gozo.

The event delved into several aspects of Health and safety, mostly at a local level. In addition, the seminar held a panel discussion with a number of speakers namely from OHSA Malta, GWU and the Ministry for Gozo. A keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Ulrike Bollman. Dr Bollman is Head of International Cooperation, Institute for work and Health ( IAG) of the German Social Accident Insurance ( DGUV).

From the seminar the speakers highlighted that local employers need to understand the benefits of attaining adequate levels of Occupational Heath and Safety.

From this seminar it became clear that to facilitate compliance, employers in Gozo wish to have:
- More guidelines that explain measures that need to be taken.
- Development of more electronic tools for risk assessment which will facilitate compliance by duty holders.
- More meaningful involvement from Social partners .

Although more electronic tools for risk assessment are in the pipeline by the OHSA, members present agreed that this process needs to be speeded up.

The Gozo Business Chamber strongly advocates for better regulations, without reducing the levels of occupational health and safety in any way. Bureaucratic and overly complicated procedures will result in employers who will find it difficult or next to impossible to comprehend and ultimately implement. Therefore, without reducing health and safety standards, the procedures need to be revised and made more process and user friendly. As a business oriented organisation the GBC, strongly believes that improvement in health and safety can be achieved through education and incentivisation as opposed to punitive action.

The Gozo Business Chamber’s main role is that of representing Gozitan businesses and employers, thus it was for this reason it held such seminar in Gozo.

5th October 2018

The Gozo Business Chamber highlights the need for a fourth vessel between Gozo and Malta

The Gozo Business Chamber has expressed disappointment at the service presently being accorded by Gozo Channel Co Ltd after a fault developed yesterday in one of its vessels. The Chamber fully understands that faults can develop in the ships operated by the company, and this is bound to happen more frequently once the ships' life plods along. However, one must understand that the heavily inflicted delays are detrimental to commuters, and are causing Gozo, irreparable damage. The Chamber has been clamouring about the need of a fourth vessel, for the simple fact that traffic to and from Gozo has increased substantially in the last years, and it is making it next to impossible for the Company to operate with an unchanged fleet of ferries that has been in existence for 18 years. It appears that although the Gozo Ministry and the Company have approved this investment, this still needs to be given the green light by other authorities. The Chamber fully supports the Company and the Ministry in their endeavour to better the service which is the lifeline of Gozo.

28th September 2018

GBC and BOV Business Breakfast on successful family businesses who have transitioned generations
The success stories of Gozitan family businesses who have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning to welcome on board the younger generations, were discussed during a business breakfast which was organised by the Gozo Business Chamber in collaboration with Bank of Valletta on 18th September 2018.
‘A successful family business is distinguished over time by its ability to sustain and regenerate itself through a robust governance and succession plan across generations. Lack of proper succession can set the trajectory to business failure and this could be avoided by addressing this matter professionally and in earnest’ said Albert Frendo – Chief Credit Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta during his opening address.
‘Bank of Valletta’s strategy for family businesses derives from the intimate knowledge of the local market, providing the right financing solutions to ensure sustainable growth. The Bank will soon announce further initiatives to support family businesses overcome financial hurdles to ensure proper and managed transitions to the upcoming generation,’ concluded Mr Frendo.
Subsequently, Dr Nadine Lia from the Family Business Office delivered a presentation on how the Office can assist family businesses to plan ahead and prepare for such transition. Moreover, Dr. Lia also gave a short overview of the current available instruments and incentives for Family Business to ease the challenges when transferring from second to third generation and beyond.
Mr. Joseph Borg, Vice President of the Gozo Business Chamber concluded the Business Breakfast by announcing that in the coming weeks the GBC will be launching a new personalised service that will operate from its offices in Victoria to its members by supporting Gozitan Businesses to plan ahead and to overcome the challenges when transferring from one generation to another. This personalized service will be offered in collaboration with the Family Business Office Malta.
The Business Breakfast proceeded with a panel discussion featuring four established Gozitan entrpreneurs, John Magro (Chairman, Magro Brothers Foods Ltd), Dr. Michael Caruana (Director, Joseph Caruana & Co Ltd), Michael Grech (Chairman and Managing Director, Michael Grech Financial Investments Services) and Peter Paul Hili (Director, Carefree furniture Company Ltd), which panel was moderated by Elaine Camilleri (Secretary of the Council of the GBC). The panel focussed on the meticulous planning required to ensure a smooth transitioning, bringing to the forefront that professional advice is a necessity before embarking on any transition process.

7th September 2018

With great sadness, The Gozo Business Chamber announces the sudden passing away of its President, Mr Joseph G Grech, at Gozo General Hospital this morning at the age of 78.

Mr Grech has, with great dedication, served the Chamber from its inception in 1999, first as Chief Executive Officer and since 2016 as President. His contribution over all these years was instrumental in getting the Chamber recognised as the main representative of the Gozitan business community, both on a national and international level. In fact, Mr Grech had recently been appointed as president of INSULEUR, the association of Chamber of Commerce of Island Regions.

Mr Grech, an ex-teacher by profession, was known as the perfect gentleman. He dedicated his life to the Scouting movement in Gozo and was actively involved in various other philanthropic organisations on the island. He is a great loss for the island of Gozo.

The council of the GBC would like to pass on its condolences to Mr Grech’s family. May God give him eternal peace and rest.

10th May 2018

The Gozo Business Chamber is extremely worried on the Gozo Channel service being available at the moment.

The large number of vehicles crossing – not to mention unexpected “bomb scares” – is causing long queues and loss of time to those wanting to cross over for work and / or appointments (health, business, flights, etc).

The Chamber is continually being inundated by phone calls from its members who are expressing their ire as they are missing their appointments for delivery and collecting their wares, apart from the fact that they have to face additional costs to pay overtime to the drivers for the extra time waiting at Mgarr and Cirkewwa.

It is strongly felt that this situation is being a detriment to business in Gozo as well as a disincentive for Maltese / Foreign investors who would think of investing in Gozo, besides acting as a counter action to the good image Gozo has been gaining.

The time for consultations / discussions is up. The Chamber wants to see drastic immediate action to address this situation which has now reached a melting point.

Michael Grech, PRO