Fabian Demicoli

Gozo Regional Committee

Mr Michael Galea, new GRTU member of the Gozo Regional Committee (GRC), attended his first GRC meeting together with Maurice Borg who is now the substitute member. A reassessment was done of Dr Gordon Cordina's report and way forward. The report from Gordon Cordina showed how Gozo experienced a lower per capita output and income when compared to Malta, and it was not contributing to and benefiting from the economic growth that was happening in the national economy in a proportionate manner. 

Dr Cordina, amongst other things, suggested that in order to close the gap in per capita GDP there needed to be a creation of around 2,000 net jobs in relatively high productivity sectors.  The proposed measures were subdivided to identify those that would address short-run pressures and others that would achieve medium-term economic benefits. 

Meeting short-run pressures:

Temporary measures (2009-2010) –

Extend the scheme of charging all passenger ferries at Gozitan resident prices at all times between October 2009 and May 2010 if summer 2009 tourism benefits fall short of Summer 2007 levels

Defer payment of government tax, utility and permit bills to Summer period when cash flow is relatively stronger

Tailor temporary and targeted assistance to industry to specific situations of relatively big industrial employers in Gozo

Permanent measures

Enhance upkeep and maintenance of amenities

Re-surfacing of roads

Deploy cruise liner berths at Xlendi and Marsalforn to attract smaller cruise ships (c. 500 passengers)

Provide administrative support for application for EU funding

Entire Gozo should be recognised as a tourist locality for the purposes of shop opening hours

Setting up of an SME Park

Achieving medium-term economic targets, through:

Improved accessibility and mobility

Develop an airstrip to cater for planes carrying up to 20 passengers

Tourism distinctiveness, development and reducing seasonality

Construct international-standard sport facilities including an indoor pool

Construct breakwater in Marsalforn and provide yacht berths

Develop agro-tourism with Gozo serving as a model for Malta

Designate special development zones with favourable tax treatment for the re-development and regeneration of real estate for sale to high-net worth individuals

Exploitation of distinctive advantages offered for the ICT sector

Develop specific niches in the ICT sector, including launching of innovative technologies and accommodation of critical personnel; requires Gozo to have proper ICT connectivity

Implementation issues

Set up Task Forces to design and implement the above measures

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