Deputati fil-Parlament Ewropew donnhom jemmnu li s-servizzi finanzjarji huma forma ta’ dnub. Dan għax iqisuhom attività maħsuba biex tgħin lill-kumpaniji multinazzjonali l-kbar jiżgiċċaw milli jħallsu t-taxxi fuq il-profitti.

Hu minnu li dan ġara, għadu jiġri u hu kundannabbli. Biss f’kummerċ globalizzat, tifhimha li kumpaniji li jittrattaw ma’ numru kbir ta’ swieq u jmexxu negozji li jiżvolġu f’oqsma differenti fl-istess ħin, se jfittxu bażi minn fejn imexxu l-finanzi tagħhom b’mod kordinat. Din hi l-aqwa ħidma li jipprovdu l-pajjiżi li jispeċjalizzaw fis-servizzi finanzjarji, fosthom Malta.

Issib min jitkaża għax skont l-istatistika uffiċjali, l-investiment dirett f’pajjiż, ejja ngħidu, hu mija jew elf darba akbar mid-daqs tal-ekonomija tiegħu. Imma x’tistenna?

Il-fondi msemmija mhumiex investimenti. Huma fondi pparkjati fil-pajjiż, appuntu għax qed jipprovdi servizzi finanzjarji. Allura dan dnub?

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Albert Mizzi

Il-mewt ta’ Albert Mizzi timmarka punt ieħor ta’ qtugħ minn żmien l-ewwel fażi tal-modernizzazzjoni ta’ Malta. Hu kien protagonist ta’ kif twettqet dil-bidla. Meta ġejt lura Malta fit-tieni nofs tas-snin sebgħin tas-seklu l-ieħor, malajr għallmuni min kien. Iċ-ċermen tal-Air Malta (fejn ta kontribut tad-deheb). Wieħed mill-eqreb erba’ konsulenti tal-Prim Ministru ta’ dak iż-żmien. Avversarji u ammiraturi kienu laqqmuhom il-“Gang of Four”.

Mizzi kien jiffoka b’mod strateġiku fuq kif jista’ jasal għal ftehim kummerċjali jew finanzjarju li jibdel ix-xenarju. Darba spjegali kif telaq biex jirranġa għall-bini tal-Mellieħa Bay Hotel. Iċċekkjajt u kkonfermajt l-istorja. Wera viżjoni u determinazzjoni impressjonanti.

Il-miri tiegħu mhux dejjem kienu tajba. Għadni jisgħobbija li fi żmien meta l-proġett ta’ Tigne Point seta’ jitħalla jmut ħesrem, tajtu l-appoġġ biex jerġa’ jitlaq. Min-naħa l-oħra, is-sens ta’ negozju tiegħu kien tali li kien minn tal-ewwel li fehem kif ir-revoluzzjoni tal-“branding” kienet se tibdel mill-qiegħ il-bejgħ u x-xiri f’pajjizna. Meta nisma’ lil min jgħid kif dak li xtara hu “tad-ditta”, fih niftakar.

Insellem it-tifkira tiegħu.

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Ir-Reġina

Inqis lili nnifsi repubblikan konvint. Xorta ħadt ħafna gost li r-Reġina Eliżabetta tar-Renju Unit “irnexxielha” ddum aktar minn kull ħaddieħor fuq it-tronn Brittaniku.

Għandi memorji sbieħ tagħha u tal-familja tagħha meta stednitni għal ikla privata flimkien ma’ Prim Ministru ta’ gżira mill-Karibew f’palazz tagħha fil-qalba ta’ Edinburgh. Ovvja, l-istedina saret għal raġunijiet protokolari, imma kemm hi, kemm żewġha u kemm ir-Reġina Omm (li kienet għadha ħajja) urew lejja u l-mistieden l-ieħor kortesija skwiżita fuq bażi personali. L-istil tagħha kien jogħġobni minn qabel; wara, apprezzajtu aktar.

Nixtiqilha aktar snin ta’ kalma u dehen bħala r-Reġina.

English Version – Are financial services sinful?

Some MEPs seem to believe that financial services are sinful They consider them as an activity intended mainly to assist big multinatinal corporations evade taxes on their profits.

It is true that this has happened, is still happening and must be roundly condemned. However in conducting business on a global sale, it is understandable that companies which are simultaneously interfacing with numerous markets while dealing with different product/services sectors will need to have a basis on which to coordinate their financial management. This is the most important support provided by countries which specialize in financial services, among which Malta.

There are those who are disturbed by the fact that according to official data, foreign direct investment in country L, let us say, is one hundred or one thousand times the size of its Gross domestic Product. But what should one expect?

The funds in question are not investments. They are monies parked in the country, precisely because it operates as a financial services hub. Is this sinful?

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Albert Mizzi

With Albert Mizzi’s death, another break has been registered with the times when Malta was going through its first phase of modernization. He was a protagonist in the manner by which this change was carried out. When I returned to Malta in the second half of the seventies of the previous century, I soon got to know about him. He was then chairman at Air Malta (where his contribution was outstanding). And he was one of the four closest advisors of the Prime Minister. Critics and admirers had dubbed them the “Gang of Four”.

Mizzi could focus in strategic mode on how to reach commercial and financial agreements that would change the game. Once he explained to me how he had set about launching the Mellieħa Bay hotel project. I checked the story and confirmed his version of it. His vision and determination were impressive.

The goals he set were not always well chosen. I still regret that at a time when it seemed about to die an early death, I helped to get the Tigne Point project back on the rails. On the other hand, Albert Mizzi’s feel for what would make business sense was so sharp that he was among the first to realize that the “brand” revolution would change radically the Maltese retail sector. When I hear people saying they just bought this or that brand, his name immediately comes to my mind.

I salute him.

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The Queen

Though a staunch republican, I still was very pleased when the UK’s Queen Elizabeth “succeeded” in breaking all records for length of tenure as a monarch.

I have pleasant memories of the Queen and her family when she invited me along with a Prime Minister of a Caribbean island for a private lunch at her palace in the heart of Edinburgh. Obviously the invitation was issued for protocolar reasons, but she, as well as her husband and the Queen Mother (who was still living) showed towards me and the other invitee on a personal basis, an exquisite courtesy. Previously I had admired her style; now I could appreciate it even more.

May she reign as Queen for many more years, in serenity and wisdom.