Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January, 2022 at 10:03 am by Andre Camilleri
The government announced today that €12 million will be invested in a new facility at Ħal Far for small and medium-sized businesses.
Addressing the media, Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri said that the investment will be addressing a major challenge SMEs have been facing, which is that of a lack of operational space.
Schembri said that a new facility for industry will be built on some 14,000 square metres of land. The project is being made possible as a result of the involvement of Indis Malta, which falls under the remit of Minister Schembri.
The minister added that the land identified to construct the industrial park had been abandoned for years and was misused as a dumping site. “This abuse was a cause for concern and expense for Indis Malta, since the entity was having to clean up the site each and every time. Therefore, a decision was taken for the site to be cleaned up and transformed into an industrial space for small and medium-sized enterprises, which is part and parcel of the economic regeneration plan and industrial infrastructural investment programme we launched two years ago, whereby €470 million will be invested over a period of seven years for projects in various sectors.
Moreover, works on the site will be finalised in the first quarter of 2024 and the tender for construction works will be issued next month, while Indis issued a public call for the cleaning and reconstruction of the road leading to the facility in a bid to make it more accessible.
The concept is two-fold: SMEs who qualify for the space can have a section dedicated to their operations and another hosting the administrative side of the business due to the way the site is being constructed, in the form of a mezzanine, creating space which basically caters for the needs of SMEs.
During the conference at the Ħal Far site, the following details were given:
- 22 units covering around 5,800 square metres will be constructed for industry;
- 8 other units will be built over and above the 22 units, creating an additional 4,200 square metres;
- 6,800 square metres of car spaces below ground level will cater for some 140 vehicles.
Schembri said that this meant that 30 new units for industry will be created in a bid for SMEs to work as a community or cluster, where such businesses can offer services that can serve the needs of each and every business operating in the cluster itself.
The Minister said that, opposed to the norm, whereby investors make a request for the design or construction of the building, in this case the industrial park will be built first and will be allocated to investors in a finished state. Therefore, Indis Malta is starting to receive applications from SMEs to kick off the allocation process of the units.
The Minister added that the government worked hard to support businesses during the pandemic but its work will not stop here, and that it will continue to support businesses to see that they continue to flourish.
“SMEs account for 99% of Malta’s economic activity and we are not only supporting already existing businesses who want to expand their operations, but also those who want to start a business but did not have the tools in hand required to do so,” Minister Schembri said.
Indis Chairperson Jean Pierre Attard said that “This facility complements INDIS’ line of thought adopted in recent years. Instead of opening up to meet the high demand we have, the new facilities, where possible, are being built on a number of levels. In this way, we are using efficiently the industrial space we have, and at the same time reducing environmental impact,” said Mr Attard.
Applications will be processed by a committee within Indis and applicants have to satisfy the criteria.
The application can be downloaded on www.indismalta.com.