During the month of July, the Gozo Business Chamber participated actively in the consultation sessions on Malta’s Economic Vision 2021-2031.
The Chamber positively notes the reference and emphasis being made on Gozo reaching carbon neutrality prior to Malta, and also the shift towards multi-modal forms of transport. Gozo can be a pioneer in the uptake of electric vehicles through:
- Increased incentives for Gozitan residents to shift to electric vehicles;
- Reduced ferry tickets for Maltese residents crossing over to Gozo with electric vehicles; and
- The complete shift of Gozo’s public transport system to smaller, and more frequent electric buses. Larger buses, which can also be electric, or hybrid would only be maintained between the main routes such as that between Mġarr and Victoria.
The incentives indicated above however also need to be complemented with significant investment in the charging infrastructure in Gozo, and an investment in training to ensure that the private sector in Gozo has the required capability to service such vehicles. The recent experience with the fast ferry service and its integration with other public transport services, is a step in the right direction.
However, Gozo has significant potential to continue to evolve. Important infrastructural projects such as the permanent link between the two islands, and the new hospital to complement the Barts Medical School need to materialise. Gozo urgently needs more than Malta to diversify its economy which is presently over reliant on tourism, construction, and real estate. Digitalisation and the testing of carbon tech solutions and other green technologies should be the way forward for Gozo.
Significant investment has already been made, such as in the digital infrastructure, with the second fibre optic link and the digital innovation hub, now needs to be complemented with concrete initiatives to attract business entities operating in the digital sector.
The Chamber positively notes also the Consultation Document on the ‘Regional Development Strategy for Gozo’ issued by the Gozo Regional Development Authority. The Economic Vision should take this strategy in consideration, integrating this regional vision within a holistic strategy for the whole nation.
There must be a transformation and a change in perspective where initiatives in Gozo are no longer seen as an adjunct to other initiatives, but are implemented because Gozo is seen in in its own right, as providing added value to the whole nation through its infrastructure and economy. However, the right conditions must be created. In this sense the Government’s role is essential.
The full public consultation document can be downloaded from here.
The Gozo Business Chamber’s Feedback to the Public Consultation Document can be downloaded from here.