The Malta Council for Economic and Social Development – MCESD, discussed the impact of inflation on disposable income, cost of production and competitiveness; security of food supply; and the logistical issues of those products being imported and exported facing Maltese business.
Present for the meeting were the Minister for the Economy, European Funds and Lands Silvio Schembri and the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue Andy Ellul.
In his address, Minister Silvio Schembri said that the war crisis in Ukraine and the difficulties it is bringing about should be discussed in the same transparent way with the social partners as we did at the time of the pandemic. The Minister explained how the government will be listening to everyone’s difficulties and together we will overcome the challenges. He stated that just as we learned during the pandemic, that through open discussion with the social partners, we listen and pull the strings, we must do so now in the face of the reality of a war a bit far from our shores.
Parliamentary Secretary Andy Ellul stressed that as an island, Malta is at a permanent geographical disadvantage. He said that “As a country, Malta depends on what it imports, so when products go up, it affects us a lot.” Dr Ellul explained how we must work together, to address these problems with one voice: especially when we go to the European institutions and find tensions between countries coming from the continent, and countries like ours that our reality is different.
MCESD Chairman James Pearsall stressed that as a Council – the MCESD will be taking a step forward and seeing these issues discussed in a more focused way. To this end, it will be possible to issue recommendations through which the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development will be able to present them to the government.
The topics discussed at the meeting were presented by experts in the field, through three separate presentations which included:
- ‘Underlying Drivers of Inflation in Malta’ – presented by the Governor of the Central Bank, Profs. Edward Scicluna;
- ‘Security in Food Supply’ – presented by the Chief Policy Officer in the Office of the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, Ms Sonya Sammut;
- ‘Malta an Island’s Connection’ – presented by the Chief Commercial Officer of Express Trailers Ltd, Mr David Fleri Soler.