New economic sectors like fintech and blockchain will make Malta “future proof”, as unlike financial services they do not depend on the country’s tax regime which is under attack, the Prime Minister said on Sunday morning.
Joseph Muscat outlined his economic vision while addressing a political activity in Mqabba.
Commenting on five years of Labour government, Dr Muscat criticised Nationalist-led administrations for adopting what he described as a management-by-crisis approach.
While noting that “risk-free” decisions do not exist, he criticised his predecessors, saying they feared making a move out of fear of facing a backlash.
“If decisions turn out to be a success the merit goes to the people, if not government has to shoulder responsibility,” he remarked.
Dr Muscat pointed out that after sorting out various “crises” which he had inherited from the previous government such as energy, hospital waiting lists and employment, it was time to start looking ahead.
The Prime Minister said that one such example was Malta's road network, with plans already being drawn up on what to do next once the new junction near the Addolorata Cemetery is completed.
Turning on to public healthcare he said that “weaknesses” were being addressed by attracting Steward Health Care which would pour millions to upgrade existing facilities, attract medical tourism and build a new medical campus. All this will be of huge benefit to Maltese patients, he said.
Dr Muscat also spoke of new niche economic sectors which the government was trying to attract.
Blockchain sector is 'uncharted waters' - PM
He noted that Malta’s plans to regulate the blockchain sector meant it was venturing in “uncharted waters” where other have not dared to go.
“Fintech, blockchain and virtual currencies will be the base of the new economy in a few years,” he added.
Earlier this week, major cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that it would be setting up shop in Malta.
While acknowledging that there could be risks as well as up and downs along the way, Dr Muscat insisted that these sectors were key to make Malta “future-proof”.
“We will be pioneers in these sectors,” he said.
“The most important thing is that blockchain and fintech investors are not coming to Malta due to our tax regime, but due to the fact that we will have a regulatory framework,” Dr Muscat added.
The Prime Minister made this point in the wake of what he described as the various external attacks on our taxation system which he said were being strongly resisted.
Yet, being able to attract new investment independent of the country’s tax regime would mean not having to worry about such attacks in the first place, he added.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Muscat said that after Easter, government would be presenting rent reform white paper, the IVF reform Bill and various other initiatives.
Earlier, Transport Minister Ian Borg announced that former Labour Parliamentary Secretary Franco Mercieca would be chairing a new steering committee about the Malta-Gozo tunnel.
He said that Dr Mercieca would not be paid for this job.
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