Prime Minister sets out proposals for Gozo under a Labour Government
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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat presented the Labour candidates for the Gozo District during a press conference at Fort Chambray yesterday.
He said that during the last four years the Government has “managed to keep our promise of Gozo for Gozitans, when unemployment fell to the lowest level in history in Gozo. We have also increased the number of tourists in Gozo, up by 42% from 2012.”
Dr Muscat said that a number of measures have been implemented in Gozo, among which are the stamp duty reduction for those who buy property in Gozo, EU funds were allocated to begin work on a Digital and Creative Hub in Gozo, as well the completion of the tender for a fibre optic cable.
He added that they also started the ongoing geological studies on the feasibility of a tunnel between Malta and Gozo. This together with attracting the largest investment in Gozo – linked to the Barts Medical School.
On the new hospital, Dr Muscat explained that it will accommodate 350 beds, making it the largest hospital ever in Gozo. He confirmed that the Barts Medical School will open next September. There will also be investment in a new Primary Health Centre and in a project for a Centre for Medical Research.
Dr Muscat said that the tender for a fast ferry service between Gozo and Valletta has closed and there are twelve Maltese and international companies that are interested.
The Prime Minister said that a Labour Government would launch an unprecedented programme of incentives to companies in Gozo. He explained that it will incentivise Maltese companies to give the opportunity to Gozitan employees to do teleworking from Gozo with an input of 75% on the technological and capital investment and refund the salary of each employee Gozo up to € 10,000. Furthermore, that it will increase MicroInvest’s assistance to Gozitan companies to € 70,000.
Dr Muscat explained that start-ups tax credit for new businesses will increase to € 70,000, or 30% of the investment and labour costs in the first year when business open. While businesses which decide to move from Malta to Gozo, will be exempt from income tax for 3 years, such businesses will also have taxes refunded, he said.
Dr Muscat said that they will establish a Gozo regional authority in which Gozo will participate on its future and plan to identify the gap skills for Gozo.There will also be a Gozo Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
The Prime Minister said that Gozo will benefit significantly as part of the project of € 700m which will redress the roads.
He explained that they will carry at the project for a buoy suitable for cruise liners in Xlendi, and will build a breakwater in Marsalforn, as well as a new Primary school in Victoria, among other initiatives.
Dr Muscat said that will they will strengthen incentives for Gozitan students who need to rent Malta property while studying in Malta, and will give a tax credit of up to € 5,000 for transit costs, transport and renting to the parents of Gozitan students who are studying Malta.
Dr Muscat also explained that they will develop a new 500-bed home for the elderly focused more on long-term care of elderly Gozitans.
“While we will continue to develop new economic niches for Gozo. A new Park and Ride system will be introduced at Mgarr harbour for peak morning hours and we will start the reorganisation of the Yacht Marina in Mgarr.”
The Prime Minister added that there will be new agri projects, the new Gozo Museum, they will incentivise the revival of the Gozo Agricultural Village, and start a rehabilitation programme for valleys, beaches and tourist areas.
He went on to explain that they will create a depot where farmers can store fruit and vegetables, and will also open an office in Gozo focused on the needs of fishermen.
“I am convinced that the best time for Gozo is yet to come,” Dr Muscat concluded.