Gozo MCESD meeting discusses Budget measures for the island

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Gozo meeting of the MCESD discusses Budget measures for the islandThe Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana, the Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia, participated in a meeting of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) held in Gozo.

The meeting was held to discuss the budget for the coming year, in particular, looking at how it will effect Gozo

The Council Chairman John Bencini and the Chairman of the Gozo Regional Committee Joe Muscat, spoke about the importance of holding a MCESD meeting once a year in Gozo, which effectively puts the interest of the island on the national agenda.

The Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana argued that “this is a budget based on the vision of the Ministry for Gozo, a vision which will be implemented with the establishment of the Gozo Regional Development Authority.”

Minister Caruana said that the budget for next year is focusing on three main tracks, that of the island’s infrastructure, creating more quality jobs in Gozo and enhancing the tourism product.

In addition she said, the budget boosts Gozo’s social sector dealing with various aspects that directly affect students, Gozitan workers in Malta, sick people and their relatives, as well as people with special needs.

Dr Caruana pointed out how in this budget, Gozo has seen a substantial increase of 30% in its allocation, thereby showing the Government’s commitment to the island.

Justyne Caruana also explained how the Ministry for Gozo is exploring ways to attract new sectors to Gozo and to create more jobs.

She reiterated the election promise to improve accessibility between the islands, saying that “the Ministry for Gozo is working to improve accessibility, and connectivity in technology and information, as well as other niches that offer added value, and later a new foreign investment is expected to be announced that will be a game changer for the island.”

Minister Helena Dalli explained how the meeting is being held in the context of “unprecedented economic development, fostering a growing wealth in Gozo for Gozitans.”

“This is not by chance,” she said, “but thanks to the Government’s commitment to boost sustainable development in Gozo, equally and without distinction to Malta.”

The Minister added that this commitment was again reflected in the next budget for the year, with a number of measures that will further enhance confidence in the economy while incentivising private sector investment which is so important for sustainable development in Gozo.

Minister Dalli said that “all this is done in the context of the first regional strategy for Gozo, leading to a comprehensive policy, as opposed to the sporadic measures we have been accustomed to in the past.”

Minister Helena Dalli also spoke about the latest developments on Brexit, explaining that on the part of the European Union, negotiations on the UK’s departure UK are concluded, and now the ball is in the UK’s court, however the English Parliament must vote on the proposed agreement.

She added that next will be the start of negotiations on the relationship with the UK as a third country, these negotiations cover several areas, primarily trade and transport including aviation and energy.

“In this context, the European Union is running a close relationship with the United Kingdom based on the principle that both parties have similar rules to ensure a level playing field,” said Minister Dalli.

Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia said that the budget presented “is a look into the future to build on its predecessors.”

However, Farrugia said that the country is preparing with our European partners for the event of a downturn or contraction in the international economy.

He explained that at the European level, three measures have been taken, including the completion of the Banking Union, the reform of the European Stability Mechanism and strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Photograph: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri

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