BUDGET 2021: Gozo – Extension of employment related schemes, numerous infrastructural studies and projects

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 October, 2020 at 9:01 am by Andre Camilleri

  • Employment Schemes to be extended and improved
  • Fourth Gozo ferry to be kept on permanent basis
  • Infrastructural work in Blue Lagoon area expected

The government is promising to continue providing the necessary stimuli in the coming years to further improve the economic performance in Gozo, which has led to greater recorded economic growth and a fall in unemployment.

Through further investments in a research centre and a place where pilot high-tech projects can be launched, the government is committed to see that Gozo diversifies its economic activity and reduce its dependence on the public and tourism sectors. The government will also work to see Gozo as a green island through projects that complement the vision of a sustainable environment.

Employment in Gozo

With the introduction of a second fibre optic cable, the Innovation Hub in Xewkija and ongoing works on the National Astronomical Observatory in Nadur, the government is promising new opportunities for high added value work.

With regard to the agriculture and fisheries sectors, a number of initiatives are planned to make these areas more sustainable by diversifying their operation.

There will also be a continuation of various schemes that have been implemented in recent years to drive work in Gozo. The Employment Refund Scheme, Teleworking Scheme and schemes in the field of MICE will therefore be extended. The Back Office Employment Refund Scheme and promotional support schemes for Gozitan enterprises operating especially within the digital innovation, internet technology and tourism sector, will be improved; further details on this will be announced later on.

Over the next year, the government will also continue working on the renovation of the ICT infrastructure within the Administrative Building of the Ministry for Gozo with the aim of providing an accommodative and modern environment which will ensure health and safety aspects at work for both employees and clients.

Infrastructure in Gozo

While continuing work on major roads, as part of the landscaping, various statues and niches will be facing restoration woks and mosaic murals are to be installed in tourist areas. Infrastructural work around the Blue Lagoon area in Comino is also expected.

The smart parking project will be further expanded to more car parks and roads around Gozo, while work at home for the elderly at Ġużeppi House in Għajnsielem will continue.

The construction of the Aquatic Centre will continue, incorporating the restoration and addition of more sports facilities in the Sports Palace. Even the horse track in Tax-Xħajma will be seeing an upgrade in its technical infrastructure. Additionally, the Master Plan for diving will be updated and renewed to reflect the present and future needs of this hobby and tourist niche.

The government will also be conducting studies necessary to eventually implement the underwater cultural museum, which should be at first for the Maltese Islands. A Virtual Reality project will also take place inside the Ċittadella so that visitors can experience its history and culture throughout interactive means.

The budget also mentions Gozitan students’ accommodation in Malta who will continue to be assisted by the accommodation project in Villa Lauri, Birkirkara and rental allowance.

In relation to Eco-Gozo, the first phase of a pilot project for renewable energy generation from cow manure and organic material will be initiated, while of a number of valleys will be improved through reconstruction of rubble walls and afforestation.

Connectivity between Malta and Gozo

One of the main projects that has been mentioned over the years has been the Fast Ferry project. Despite the controversy it has faced, resulting in its postponement, the government plans to have it introduced in this budget.

Additionally, the government is promising that the fourth Gozo ferry will be kept on a permanent basis, thanks to Public Service Obligation offers, complimented with the introduction of the new bus service X300.

The Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) for the Gozo tunnel, the first phase out of three, is officially over and the government is now looking for the most feasible commissioner to design, build, finance and operate the tunnel.

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