The challenges are big and some jobs will inevitably be lost – Kurt Farrugia

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

During the past few days, Malta’s efforts to contrast the health and economic emergency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, were positively highlighted in the international media. Research by foreign organisations have placed Malta amongst the top nations in terms of economic support provided to businesses and their employees. 

For Kurt Farrugia, Malta Enterprise’s CEO, these recognitions will serve as a perfect visiting card when Malta pushes itself to attract foreign direct investment and jobs to our shores: “We are now in a position to tell those who are looking at us for the possibility to invest here: this is how we have reacted to the health challenge and this is how we have helped our business. Ours is a strong and safe country, health-wise and business-wise”.

Farrugia, who was being interviewed during Newsbook Hour on 103, said that the priority currently lies on protecting Malta’s existing businesses, however the investment promotion efforts are ongoing, through virtual conferences. He said that some foreign entrepreneurs have expressed interest even at this time. Malta Enterprise is seeking to showcase what Malta has to offer through virtual means, despite the limitations.

The CEO of Malta Enterprise also tackled the issue of support measures being provided by Government, which are administered by Malta Enterprise, particularly the wage supplement. He said that thousands of applications have been processed and millions of euro paid out, but recognized that quite a few workers are still awaiting for their money. He explained that this is an extremely complex process, with thousands of applications covering over 90,000 jobs. While his organisation still has to go through a few applications, others are stuck up because of incorrect detail or unanswered questions lying in companies’ inboxes.

Farrugia insisted that the teams at Malta Enterprise are working around the clock to process these applications as swiftly as possible but at the end of the day this was taxpayer money and therefore full accountability was required.

Concluding the discussion, Kurt Farrugia noted that an important element in the economy’s restart will be local consumption and local tourism. However, Malta Enterprise would continue in its longer-term efforts to attract new business since the challenges are big and some jobs will inevitably be lost.

He also recalled that there are currently a number of training grants to support entrepreneurs and employees to re-skill themselves and prepare their business for new opportunities that will emerge after the pandemic.

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.