F’diskursata ta’ malajr ma’ uffiċjal eżekuttiv ta’ bank lokali fissirli kemm qed iħossu frustrat. Skont hu – u naqbel miegħu – funzjoni essenzjali ta’ bank hi li jsellef il-flus b’mod kompetittiv lil imprendituri żgħar li jkunu se jtellqu proġett ta’ investiment fil-linja tagħhom.

Skont hu, tant qed jinħolqu ostakli burokratiċi biex dan isir li hu u sħabu qed isibu li l-aqwa rwol tagħhom spiċċa dak li jraqqdu l-ħeġġa ta’ min irid jinvesti u jkabbar. Il-ħtija mhijiex tal-bank innifsu. Sempliċement ikollu jsegwi d-direttivi Ewropej biex jissalvagwardjaw kontra l-ħasil tal-flejjes.

Dwar hekk naqbel mal-għanijiet tal-miżuri li qed jittieħdu minn Brussell u Frankfurt. Imma jidher sew li l-miżuri qed ikollhom impatt ikreh fuq il-modi kif azjendi ċkejkna jistgħu jiffinanzjaw il-proġetti tagħhom.

Dil-ħaġa mhijiex isseħħ f’Malta biss. Ma nistgħux inħallu jisfaw imblokkati, l-arterji u l-vini finanzjarji li minnhom in-negozji ż-żgħar iwettqu xogħolhom.

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ĠENNA MITLUFA

Biżżejjed taqra l-kummenti li jiktbu s-segwaċi tal-PN fil-midja soċjali l-aktar fejn għandhom x’jaqsmu mas-siti tal-ġurnali. L-istess sentiment jinħass fost kelliema ewlenin tal-PN fil-Parlament Malti.

Għedtha qabel hawn u ntenniha: Id-diskorsi u l-kummenti tagħhom baqgħu ifakkruk fl-ilmenti ta’ xi ħadd li jħossu tturufnat mill-ġenna li kienet tiegħu.

Hi ħaġa naturali li wara snin twal fil-gvern, partit li jitlef il-ħakma se jħossu mitluf. Imma għall-PN, dil-ħaġa ġrat aktar minn sitt snin ilu. Xorta, l-mexxejja Nazzjonalisti għadhom jibku dwar li ġralhom, minflok itellgħu viżjoni ġdida ħalli jikkonvinċu lill-poplu li fil-barżakka jġorru aktar minn qrid.

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MHUX MALTA BISS!

Fl-aħħar ġimgħat, jien u niltaqa’ ma’ ċittadini Maltin, ta’ spiss tqum diskussjoni dwar in-numru ta’ barranin li jgħixu fostna. Jissemmew barranin li jsibu xogħol jaqdu klijenti Maltin bħal f’ristoranti jew ħwienet tal-ħwejjeġ. L-ilment hawn ikun kif dawn la jafu jitkellmu bl-Ingliż u wisq anqas bil-Malti. Kif jistgħu jaqduk tajjeb? tqum il-mistoqsija.

Min jagħmilha għandu punt. Apparti minn nies bla profil publiku li jappartjenu lill-klassi tan-nofs jew “anqas”, smajt anke imprendituri u professjonisti mlaħħqa jgħidu l-istess.

Imbagħad dil-ġimgħa, f’restorant popolari ta’ Brussell, indunajt li l-qaddejja li qed isservi la kienet taf bil-Franċiż, la bil-Fjamand u lanqas bl-Ingliż. Hi u l-klijenti tħabtu biex isibu mod kif jiftehmu bejniethom.

Il-problema ma teżistix f’Malta biss! Bilfors tqum f’Ewropa li fetħet il-fruntieri u ħalliet il-membri kollha tagħha jilqgħu fosthom iċ-ċittadini ta’ xulxin. Wara kollox, daqs Malta jekk mhux aktar, f’imkejjen Ewropej oħra, parti sostanzjali tal-popolazzjoni hi magħmula minn stranġieri. Ħafna mill-klijenti tar-ristorant popolari fejn kont fi Brussell, ma kinux Belġjani.

English Version – Banks

During a quick conversation I had with the executive of a local bank, he explained how frustrated he felt. In his view, with which I agree, while functioning in a competitive mode, a bank has as one of its essential functions, that of lending funds to small scale entrepreneurs who are seeking to launch investment projects in their line of activity.

By his account, so many bureaucratic obstacles are being put in the way of how this is being done that he and his colleagues now find that their main role has become that of braking the enthusiasm of whoever wishes to invest and expand. The bank itself is not to blame for this. It simply has to observe European directives designed to combat money laundering.

On this issue, one can only agree with the aims that define the measures being set from Brussels and Frankfurt. However, it is quite clear that such measures are having a negative impact on the avenues by which small and medium sized enterprises can access funds for their projects.

This is not happening only in Malta. Yet we cannot go on blocking the financial arteries and veins that power the work of smes.

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Exiled from paradise

To understand their mood, just read the comments posted in the social media by PN supporters especially around the websites of newspapers. A similar feeling is apparent among PN main speakers in the Maltese Parliament.

I have already said it here and will repeat it: The speeches and comments remind one of the complaints that would be made by those who feel they have been exiled from a paradise that used to be theirs.

It is natural that after long years in government, a party that loses its grip on power will find itself at a loss. But this happened to the PN six years ago or more. Yet, its leaders still seem to be in mourning, instead of projecting a new image to convince people that the policy package they carry contains more than just lamentation.

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Not just in Malta!

In recent weeks, as I met many people face to face, a point that frequently came up in conversation was about the number of foreigners at present living in Malta. Reference is regularly made to foreigners who find work servicing the needs of Maltese residents, as in restaurants and clothes shops. The complaint here is about how these can hardly speak English, even less Maltese. So the question goes: How can they give proper service?

There is some truth in this. To be sure, I heard the same point being made by people who have no public profile, who belong to the middle classes or “less”, as well as by businessmen even, and professional people.

Then this week in a popular Brussels restaurant I noticed how the waitress who was serving had no French, no Flemish, nor English. She and her clients had a tough time trying to understand each other.

The problem is hardly Malta’s alone! It must necessarily arise in a Europe that has opened its frontiers and allowed all its member states to welcome each other’s citizens. After all, just as in Malta if not more, in other parts of Europe substantial chunks of the population are now made up of foreigners. Actually, many of the clients at the popular Brussels restaurant which I visited were not Belgian.