Gozo Business Chamber celebrates it’s 10th anniversary
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The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) celebrated the tenth anniversary of its establishment by holding a commemorative event which was attended amongst others by Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo and Tonio Fenech, Minister of Finance, Economy and Investment.
The Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment, stated that when looking back over the last five to ten years and analysing the key decisions taken by the Government, including the liberalisation of markets, Privatisation of some government companies, membership in the European Union and euro area, substantial reductions in the costs of company registration and licenses, the directive on services and many others, identifies a number of decisions giving more space to businesses of both Maltese and Gozitan to grow and create more job opportunities.
He explained how in 2009 there were 47 enterprises that benefited from some form of support for investment in 2009. He said that it was of great encouragement that in the present economic situation there was a lot of interest from Gozitan businesses in the scheme linked to innovation. Tonio Fenech recalled the first two calls for the industry schemes, administered by Malta Enterprise, which distributed more than € 24 million, and applications are currently open for the third call. Tonio Fenech expressed the hope that participation in the third call is stronger because these schemes offer a number of opportunities in different areas, including research, development, environment, the Start-ups, international competitiveness and innovation, through the allocation of € 7 million that was added to the remaining € 6m in the budget of last year.
Minister Fenech referred to the tax credits schemes launched recently and claimed that the schemes are evidence of Government’s commitment not only for business but for the whole Gozitan community, as the tax credit on any investment, whether machinery or new technology, equipment that reduces energy consumption or even when employing new people, are going up from 40% to 60%. This means that the Government will be helping the small business in Gozo.
Another important sector for the Gozitan economy is tourism. Tonio Fenech said that last year several initiatives were made towards specialists tour operators to take a special interest in Gozo to encourage diving holidays and group holidays with particular interest in archeology and religious tours.
The Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono, expressed her satisfaction with the Gozo Business Chamber and how it collaborates with the Ministry for Gozo in constructive dialogue to aid development in the socio-economic development in the island of Gozo. The Minister explained how one of the first initiatives taken as Minister for Gozo was the establishment of the Gozo Business Chamber as well as that of the Gozo Tourism Association, which both are contributing in their relative fields. The Minister explained how the Ministry for Gozo supported the work of the Gozo Business Chamber through financial support and with logistical help.
Mr Joe Grech, Chairman of the Gozo Business Chamber explained the operation of the chamber and it’s members over the past ten years.
During the event to mark the anniversary of the first ten years of operation, the current council decided to confer the title of Honorary President to Mr John Magro and Dr Michael Caruana, who have both served as President of the Gozo Business Chamber in the past.