MBB urges more focus on renewable energy
The Malta Business Bureau (MBB) believes that Malta’s progress in renewable energy is unsatisfactory.
The Renewable Energy Directive requires member states to invest in renewable energy sources (RES), forming part of the EU-wide drive for increased environmental sustainability under the Europe 2020 targets. Malta has set a target that renewable energy sources will produce at least 10% of the total national energy requirements by 2020.
The MBB believes that progress is hindered by the small number and scale of projects initiated. Local RES policy needs to be channelled into tangible and effective projects. This would involve implementation on micro and macro wind energy projects, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal projects, as well as biogas and solid biomass projects.
A Malta Business Bureau (MBB) delegation led by President George Vella were discussing a number of proposals with PN Deputy Leader Simon Busuttil, Minister for Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech, and PN Secretary General Paul Borg Olivier, in view of the upcoming general election.
“Industrial areas should be considered as priorities, given the large amount of space available for photovoltaic panels, wind energy, and other RES opportunities, also catering for the onsite demand for energy,” urged Mr Vella.
The MBB recommendations, presented in a policy paper entitled ‘Delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy in Malta’, focus on a number of measures aimed to enhance Malta’s competitiveness, employment levels, and environmental resource management, within the context of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.
The successful implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy in Malta would contribute to a significant improvement in the competitiveness of the local economy. To ensure the best possible results, it is imperative that the incoming administration commits to step up its efforts towards the timely achievement of these targets.
During the meeting, the MBB delegation held an exchange of views with the Partit Nazzjonalista representatives on three issues: employment and entrepreneurship policy, the creation of a national clusters policy, and increasing renewable energy usage.
Early school leavers in Malta amount to 33.5% as of 2011, much higher than the Europe 2020 set national target of 29%. The European Commission has already cautioned Malta that no notable progress has been made towards reaching this target. In order to help achieve this target, Mr Vella suggested that the number of early school leavers could be curbed by exposing students to entrepreneurship opportunities via company-visits and business exposure programmes whereby they are shown how they could venture into an entrepreneurial career.
Such an initiative will also give business the opportunity to be better linked with education institutions, allowing curricula development to be better tuned to current and prospective labour market needs “This will therefore push for the reduction of skills-mismatches, particularly in pharmaceuticals and research and development based industries,” explained Mr. Vella.
Mr Vella concluded by commenting that the next legislature should aim to push for the inception of a national clusters policy. A clear issue that is affecting the competitiveness of local enterprise is that the lack of economies of scale hinders negotiating capability in international markets. Clusters provide quick access to specialised suppliers and increase productivity. In light of the Europe 2020 target for Research and Development to represent 3% of EU GDP by 2020, business clusters would certainly contribute towards increasing R&D investment, which currently stands at only 0.73% of local GDP.