Gozo Business Chamber publishes budget proposals; wants new hospital

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The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) has published its proposals for the upcoming budget, and among other things are asking for the construction of a new hospital.

The GBC’s budget proposals focus on four main areas: transport and connectivity, public infrastructure, sustainability, and initiatives targeted towards the establishment of a digital sector in Gozo. “This is also in line with Government’s vision for Gozo as outlined in its 2021 pre-budget document, where it is highlighted that the Government’s vision for the region is that of ‘securing an innovative, rejuvenated and connected island that delivers social and economic prosperity for all, while at the same time conserving its unique, rural and cultural characteristics.’

The GBC said that the country’s recovery also passes through a remodelling and rethinking of the Gozitan economy to be more forward looking. “Many of the proposals put forward by the Chamber in its Post COVID-19 Strategic and Policy document (May 2020), are still valid. Nonetheless the Chamber has decided to focus on those proposals which need to be tackled with urgency in order to ensure Gozo’s economic recovery is in line with that of the whole nation. It is essential for the Government to adopt a regional focused approach. Gozo merits special attention because it posseses specific attributes which can assist not only its own recovery but that of the whole nation.”

Budget proposals

Transport and connectivity

The GBC wants the government to continue with important projects for Gozo including enhancing further the maritime and air links between Gozo and Malta and the continuation of the permanent link project between the two islands.

Public infrastructure

The GBC wants the government to build a new hospital for Gozo.

In addition, it is asking for the construction of an underground multi-storey parking in Victoria that would not impinge on the city’s historical and authentic landscape and the construction of a new Marsalforn harbour breakwater.

Sustainability

The GBC are asking the government to replace the present leased ferry with a hybrid ferry. “This should also be considered for the other Gozo Channel vehicles as a long term approach when coming to replace the existing fleet.”

The Chamber also wants Maltese resident electric vehicles of Maltese crossing over to Gozo to pay a reduced fare. “On the other hand, Gozitan residents with electric vehicles would cross for free on Gozo channel ferries.”

It also wants the refund on electric vehicles for Gozo residents to be raised to € 9,000 instead of the present maximum of € 7,000.

Initiatives targeted towards the establishment of the digital sector in Gozo

The Chamber wants the government to provide a tax holiday for companies in the digital sector to establish themselves in Gozo. It also wants the government to grant a subsidy on rent for companies in the digital sector which establish themselves in the Digital Innovation Hub.

“Create an eco-system of incentives specific for Gozo, for business enterprises within the wide spectrum of the digital technology sector alongside a holistic strategy for Gozo in this sector”