New hospital amongst budgetary proposals – Gozo Business Chamber

FILE PHOTO

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) has presented its budgetary proposals, amongst which are the continuation of the permanent link project between Gozo and Malta, as well as the building of a new hospital for Gozo.

The GBC’s budgetary proposals focus on four main areas: transport and connectivity, public infrastructure, sustainability, and initiatives targeted towards the establishment of a digital sector in Gozo. This is after analysis of the Gozitan economy, which is over reliant on sectors such as tourism, construction, and real estate. Therefore, the diversification of the Gozitan economy is a priority.

The proposals are the following:

Transport and Connectivity

  • Continue with important projects for Gozo including enhancing further maritime and air links between Gozo and Malta.
  • Continuation of the permanent link project between Gozo and Malta

Public Infrastructure

  • The building of a new hospital for Gozo.
  • The building of an underground multi-storey parking in Victoria, that would not impinge on the city’s historical and authentic landscape.
  • The building of a new breakwater for Marsalforn harbour

Sustainability

  • Replace the present leased ferry with a hybrid ferry. This should also be considered for the other Gozo Channel vehicles as a long term approach when coming to replace the existing fleet.
  • Electric vehicles of Maltese residents crossing over to Gozo are to pay a reduced fare.
  • On the other hand Gozitan residents with electric vehicles would cross for free on Gozo channel ferries.
  • Refund on electric vehicles for Gozo residents to be raised to € 9,000 instead of the present maximum of € 7,000.

Initiatives targeted towards the establishment of the digital sector in Gozo

  • Provide a tax holiday for companies in the digital sector to establish themselves here in Gozo.
  • Grant a subsidy on rent for companies in the digital sector which establish themselves in the Digital Innovation Hub.
  • Create an eco-system of incentives specific for Gozo, for business enterprises within the wide spectrum of the digital technology sector alongside a holistic strategy for Gozo in this sector.

The Chamber noted that many of the proposals it put forward in its Post COVID-19 Strategic and Policy document (May 2020) remain valid. However, it chose to focus on those proposals which need to be tackled with urgency to ensure Gozo’s economic recovery is in line with that of the whole nation.

The GBC also outlined that the measures proposed here do not diminish the economic recovery initiatives implemented throughout the past months. The Government should continue to monitor the situation to assess their impact and continuation where necessary.