Fabian Demicoli

THE GOZO CORNER


GRTU has since the begining of July
2008, visited Gozo twice a week to discuss with its members their needs and the
problems they face on a daily concern. GRTU is today also holding bi-weekly
meetings with the Ministry for Gozo.

Mr Frank Psaila and Mr Micheal Buhagiar
are our direct contacts at the Ministry and we are together working hard to
eliminate problems that have been ingrained in Gozo over the last years.

This work is being aptly handled
in Gozo by our representative Ms Joanne Mifsud. She is responsible for GRTU
Gozitan Enterprise Support including their membership within GRTU and Green MT.
Joanne is also present for meetings held with Local Councils in Gozo on a
weekly basis. Her working schedule keeps her in Gozo every Thursday and Friday
so that on these days GRTU can serve the business community in Gozo directly,
is more reachable and accessible.

Over the
last two months we have had a substantial amount of meetings with individual
members of the Business community in Gozo. From these meetings a number of
issues were brought up, namely the following:

The lack of business in the off shoulder
months, and related ideas of how this can be mitigated

The lack of employment opportunites and
identifying how this can improve

The improvement of transportation
between Malta and Gozo, namely Gozo Channel issues but also other innovative
ideas, including a priority boarding lane at an addittional fee.

The lack of a solution in relation to
‘Open Storage facilities', an issue which has now been lingering for a number
of years

The lack of home accompanied support for
the ever growing ageing population in Gozo. A situation that could lead to a
substantial number of part time jobs in the care industry.

Adequate parking spaces in Victoria for
visitors, and the proposed solutions

 The lack of providing factory space for
Gozitans who are employing people in an SME and would like to increase their
business and thus increase their workforce in Gozo with Gozo based personnell.

Gozo Free travel weekend for visitors in
Mid November. GRTU is inviting its members to participate fully in this event
by providing discounts to the visitors crossing from Malta to our sister
island. From accomodation to the
catering establishments, together we need to make sure that this is a success
story which would remain in the yearly calendar always.

The issue of lack of business in the
shoulder months in Gozo has also brought about a suggestion from the business
community which we are sure would bolster substantially the shoulder months. We
are recommending that from January to March, Gozo Channel charge the Maltese
crossing to Gozo the same fares as Gozitans, so there would be just one fare
for both cars and individuals for those three shoulder months. This would
increase business and also employment levels accordingly. It is very worrying
to have to terminate someone's job because of seasonality, and more in Gozo
where there is an ongoing brain drain in many sectors.

Coming Tuesday 3rd September, GRTU will
hold a meeting for the Business Community with respect to EU proposed funding
for the years 2014 to 2020. This important meeting will be held at the NGO
office in Xewkija at 2pm. The meeting will be addressed by GRTU's EU Desk. GRTU
would like to hear your views about the proposals Government is putting on the
table, which once submitted to the community for approval later this year, will
form an intrinsic part of the funding for the years to come until 2020.  We look forward to meeting you there.

GRTU has beefed up its drive in Gozo to
support the Business Community. We want to make sure that Gozo reaps the
benefits of any funding or schemes available in Malta. We want to make sure
that together with the Ministry we work hand in hand to create new jobs for
SMEs. We want to make sure that we reduce the brain drain leaving the island
whilst sustaining development with respect to the environment. GRTU is in Gozo
to serve you better.

Our Gozo representative Joanna Mifsud
can be contacted on 99845324.

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