Labour leader Alfred Sant said yesterday that the economy needs a minimum four per cent growth each year if jobs are to remain safe and new ones created and the country sustains its social security system.

In a meeting with the Malta Employers' Association at the Labour Party headquarters, in Hamrun, during which the MLP's draft plan for the renewal of industry was discussed, Dr Sant emphasised the need to make the country competitive through production, adding that the training of workers was of the highest priority.

Dr Sant expressed concern that Malta featured last in the Lisbon Strategy goals when it comes to education.

Labour's plan had two aims: to immediately strengthen investment and to attract foreign investment in the long run so that economic growth may be achieved.

MEA president Pierre Fava said manufacturing still had a place in the country. Labour's plan, he added, offered a continuation of what was already happening and this would ensure that the economy would not suffer shocks.

Mr Fava mentioned the need for the country to be proactive in its approach. He said that certain investment might increase expectations of higher salaries among workers and this would increase pressure on employers, warning that salaries must not reach unsustainable levels.

Mr Fava said the MEA would like to see the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development take a more proactive role which could be achieved by possible changes in the way it functions.

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