Chamber members have expressed serious concern as Government encroaches on private sector activities.
The Government’s announcement that it will become a co-developer in the long-awaited Mid-Town Project due to commercial finance not being in place also raises concerns among many local businesses trading in uncertain times. If this project is successful, then there should be a profit for government. However, if it fails, the subsequent liabilities for the taxpayer could be considerable.
In the last year the government has become the dominant building contractor in Gibraltar. The budget announced that they’re also planning to set up a local bank as well as become a property developer. When the Chief Minister asserts that “real socialists flock to the GSD” it’s not hard to see why. It is alarming for Chamber members to see how the ever-rising costs being levied on their businesses are being used to subsidise government companies that are then competing head-on with members’ businesses.
Chamber President Nicholas Russo said, “As we commented recently, times are a great deal tougher than they were 12 months ago. Our members in all sectors have been trying to manage their cost bases accordingly. We thought that government
had taken this on board. The Chamber is now fearful that the number of jobs lost in the last 12 months will increase as a direct result of the cost increases announced this week. That is bad for business, bad for government revenues and bad for Gibraltar.”