Malta’s business sector should not be placed under a bad light so that it can keep growing and, in turn, the country will too, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said on Indepth.
Schembri was asked about his thoughts on close links between big business and politics. The Malta Independent Deputy Editor-in-Chief Neil Camilleri brought up, as examples, the close ties Yorgen Fenech had with people in government, and claims by Paceville entrepreneur Luke Chetcuti that he had sought a minister’s help to secure a beach concession.
Schembri said that it all boils down to how the politicians behave. “I have lost count of the number of meetings I have had with people, both on a national and international level, in the past two years and a half years. I have never faced any allegations of wrongdoing.”
He explained that if everyone holds on to the mentality that business is a bad thing, or that those in government are committing a crime if they meet people in business, the nation could face another recession.
“If business moves forward, the country moves forward,” he stated. “The difference is in the way you work around business, and Prime Minister Robert Abela has already made it clear that this government wants to keep working with businesses but without letting itself become ruled by business.”
Schembri said that it could be that previous governments gave the impression – and in some cases it might have been justified – that certain decisions made by businesses where given a priority, even if they might have not had the nation’s best interest at heart.
He said, however, that “it would be foolish for us to promote a mentality of division between us and the business sector.”
He believes that the decisions which the new government has taken are an indication of how this government is listening to the people, which is a step in the right direction.