What kind of ed­u­ca­tional changes are needed?

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Photo: Jonathan Borg

the business we can take and prob­a­bly the business to which we can ap­peal. I re­ally do not see Brexit as a threat: in some as­pects there might be some op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause, for smaller play­ers look­ing for a Euro­pean juris­dic­tion, Malta might neatly fit the bill.

“What we need to pro­tect is the fact that we are still fast and nim­ble – we can act quickly for the right play­ers and carry out the due dili­gence quickly.

We al­ways need to bear in mind our size – we are do­ing well and let’s con­tinue to.

We no­ticed a sense of ur­gency in your speech at the re­cent launch EY’s At­trac­tive­ness Sur­vey, with your theme be­ing that the fu­ture is changing, and it was as if you were say­ing that if we do not act now, the world will pass Malta by. Am I cor­rect?

Yes, in the sense that it is a fast­paced world. If you look at what we spoke about last year at FIN­TECH, which is fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy, you’ll see that we’ve been say­ing this for about 18 months. There’s a lot of good al­ready in Malta, but other coun­tries are mov­ing more quickly to adapt their business mod­els to the changing tech­nol­ogy. I think Malta could be faster in terms of adapt­ing its reg­u­la­tions to suit companies in the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor. I think we can act faster and that there is a lot of op­por­tu­nity out there.

I think size is less im­por­tant in the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try com­pared to oth­ers. If you are look­ing at man­u­fac­tur­ing plants, which re­quire a lot of peo­ple, then Malta

I am not an ed­u­ca­tion ex­pert my­self. What we are say­ing is that peo­ple are not find­ing the right hu­man re­sources for what they need. I firmly be­lieve in work­place­ment pro­grammes. The Mal­tese labour force is good, but from my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence I have no­ticed that we just need to learn to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter. In schools, maybe we need to get peo­ple more open and con­fi­dent and this needs to be done quickly, as the world will not wait for us.

Even when it comes to tech­nol­ogy, we can in­vest more in get­ting peo­ple used to the 21st cen­tury. It’s all about up­grad­ing.

At the EY at­trac­tive­ness con­fer­ence you an­nounced a think-tank that would fo­cus on eco­nomic strat­egy. Can you tell me more about this?

This is all an evo­lu­tion. Last year we iden­ti­fied five ar­eas on which we said Malta should fo­cus. There was FIN­TECH – lo­gis­tics, com­modi­ties, etc., and in or­der to gain more in­sight we or­gan­ised fo­cus groups. So for lo­gis­tics, a num­ber of op­er­a­tors met four or five times at the of­fice as a re­sult of which we drew up a re­port. We even­tu­ally did this for each sec­tion. For lo­gis­tics, we sub­mit­ted our pro­pos­als to the Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce, En­ter­prise and In­dus­try, and it set up a new Lo­gis­tics Sec­tion. We said that this was ba­si­cally an in­for­mal ‘think-tank’, so this year let’s or­gan­ise it prop­erly from the start. The three sec­tions this year were tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture.

We were con­cerned about feed­back and par­tic­i­pa­tion be­cause those in­volved do not get any­thing out of it – it was more for the greater good, so-to-speak. How­ever, I was sur­prised by the high level of par­tic­i­pa­tion – they are not get­ting paid for it: peo­ple come and share ideas and par­tic­i­pate.

I can’t avoid men­tion­ing the 15 per cent plunge in the be­lief on the part of for­eign di­rect in­vestors in Malta’s po­lit­i­cal, legal and reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment. Is this down to the Panama Pa­pers scan­dal? How would you ex­plain it?

I don’t know. We car­ried out the sur­vey, and it gave us the pic­ture that Malta re­mained at­trac­tive and that this had in­creased over the

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