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A synopsis of the DOI news for September 2008

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A synopsis of the DOI news for September 20081st September 2008 Official statistics indicate a substantial decline in the number of illegal immigrants brought ashore last month in comparison to July. On the other hand, the figure is still higher than any other August while July had the highest figure of any month on record. According to a government headcount, the total number of illegal immigrants brought ashore last month was 505, that is 289 fewer than the preceding month’s 794.

2nd September 2008 Mobile telephone subscriptions reached 374,507 at the end of June, equivalent to almost 91percent of the population, the National Statistics Office said. Contract-based mobile telephone subscriptions were recorded at 44,287, while card-plan subscriptions reached 330,220.

2nd September 2008 August was cooler than average even though the mean air temperature last month was 0.1°C higher than the 30-year mean average for August, the Meteorological Office said.

3rd September 2008 Speaking at the launch of the DMC quality seal, Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco said the business segment, of which conference and incentive travel (CIT) was the main component, accounted for 89,811 tourist arrivals with CIT generating 61,200 arrivals. Conference and business travellers to Malta spent an average of €800 per trip (€165.69 per night), nearly three times more than the leisure traveller.

3rd September 2008 Education Minister Dolores Cristina told a press conference that the University of Malta is set to benefit most from €41.4 million in European Union funding allocated for the education and cultural sectors in Malta for the period 2007-2013.

3rd September 2008 The economy continued to grow by over three percent in the second quarter of this year, according to Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.

5th September 2008 The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) said that it determined 336 development applications in August and received 428 new applications. The net pending caseload at the end of the month was 4,921.

5th September 2008 Malta imported €110 million worth of cars in the three years between 2005 and 2007, according to statistics published by Eurostat.

5th September 2008 It is estimated that out of an elderly population in Malta of 52,128, a good 4,000 suffer from dementia and the number of people suffering from the condition will be nearly doubled within 20 years as worldwide progress in the health sector increases longevity. These figures emerged during a number of training courses organised by the Ministry for Social Policy and the Secretariat for the Elderly and Community Care for persons interested in dementia care. 6 September 2008 Provisional estimates indicate that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of this year increased by 6.2 percent at market prices and by 3.2 percent in real terms when compared to the same period last year, the National Statistics Office said.

8th September 2008 Malta celebrated Victory Day, recalling the victories of the Great Siege of 1565 and the Second World War. The President headed the congregation at Pontifical Mass at St John’s Co-Cathedral after inspecting an AFM Guard. The traditional regatta was held in the Grand Harbour.

9th September 2008 The number of Maltese going abroad rose by 3.5 percent in July to reach 36,175, the National Statistics Office said.

10th September 2008 Outbound Maltese tourists during July are estimated at 36,175, meaning an increase of 3.5 percent over the same month last year, the National Statistics Office said. Of these, 83.9 percent travelled by air and 31,041 visited EU destinations, mostly Italy and the UK.

11th September 2008 Provisional data for international trade show that the visible trade gap in July stood at €142.4 million, up by €0.9 million over the same month last year, the National Statistics Office said.

12th September 2008 Tourist arrivals and guests nights in the second quarter increased by 11.4 percent and 4.7 percent respectively, according to the BOV Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association survey, meaning a growth of 15 percent and 7.7 percent for the first six months over 2007. At 557,000, tourist arrivals in the first six months were the highest in the last six years, the survey showed.

12th September 2008 The labour supply increased by 2,526 persons in April over the same month in 2007, according to the National Statistics Office.

13th September 2008 Airport passenger movements on scheduled and non-scheduled flights during August increased marginally when compared to the same month last year, Malta International Airport said. Total passenger movements in August reached 390,566, an increase of 2,324, or 0.6 percent on the same month last year. Aircraft movements decreased by 3.2 percent for a total of 2,996.

15th September 2008 After attending an EU economic affairs ministers’ meeting in Nice, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said that while one was concerned that the current economic turmoil abroad could have a negative impact on Malta, wise and concerted action by the government and the social partners could enable Malta to successfully face the challenges and maintain economic growth.

15th September 2008 Labour costs in Malta in the second quarter of this year rose by 1.8 percent from the same quarter of last year – the second lowest increase in the European Union.

16th September 2008 A total of €120 million in EU funds are being made available to the tourism industry up to 2013, Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco said. He told a press conference at the Aviation Museum that Malta up to last year had used €12m in EU funds for tourism-related projects including the building of new facilities for tourism studies in Gozo, restoration of historical sites including Greek’s Gate and the Roman Villa and improved facilities for divers.

16th September 2008 The 12-month moving rate of inflation climbed to 3.7 percent in August from 3.3 percent in July, figures issued this morning by the National Statistics Office show.

18th September 2008 Speaking during a national conference in the run-up to the budget for 2009, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech promised to continue the simplification of regulations, red tape and bureaucracy that was hindering the operations of small and medium enterprises on a daily basis.

19th September 2008 The latest Government and Eurostat figures showed that the annual rate of inflation in Malta was almost twice that of the eurozone during the same period, the opposition spokesman on finance said. The figures showed Malta’s annual rate of inflation at 6.8 percent.

21st September 2008 Malta has the highest rate of employment in hotels and restaurants in the economy compared with the EU’s 27 member states, according to Eurostat figures. In Europe, more than nine million people are directly employed in tourism-related activities, with Malta emerging top with 8.3 percent of jobs held within this sector.

22nd September 2008 The number of cruise passengers who visited Malta dipped by 4.4 percent last month compared to August 2007 and reached 76,646, the National Statistics Office said.

23rd September 2008 The foundation stone of a private industrial zone for over 70 SMEs was laid by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech at Ta’Maggi near Zabbar. The zone will cover 10,000 square metres and incorporate 78 workshops.

23rd September 2008 Malta slipped three places in the index of perceived corruption in the public sector compiled by Transparency International. The 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 180 countries places Malta in 36th place with Botswana and Puerto Rico.

23rd September 2008 The government will be providing financial assistance
to the National Council of Disabled Persons and the Foundation for Information Technology Access to make IT and communication accessible to the disabled. This was announced by Communications Minister Austin Gatt during an event involving the last group among 270 people benefitting from the Smart Start scheme.

24th September 2008 Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi left for New York where he will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly. While at the UN he held meetings with a number of prime ministers and presidents. Dr Gonzi, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, will travel to Toronto where he will meet the Maltese community.

25th September 2008 Social Policy Minister John Dalli called on employers to cooperate more with the authorities in their efforts to combat illegal employment. Speaking at a breakfast meeting on the employment of foreign workers organised by the Malta Employers’ Association, Mr Dalli admitted that the labour market was facing problems because of illegally-employed people.

26th September 2008 Finance Minister Tonio Fenech urged financial services practitioners to continue acting responsibly in order to improve trust among market operators. Speaking at a conference organised by the Malta Association of Credit Management and the Chamber of Advocates, the minister expressed his satisfaction that Malta’s financial services laws were being respected and implemented.

26th September 2008 The shortfall between government recurrent revenue and total expenditure in the first eight months of the year amounted to €260.4 million an increase of €96.2 million when compared to the same period last year, the National Statistics Office said.

26th September 2008 The overall occupancy rate in collective accommodation establishments went down by 5.3 percent in July over the comparative month in 2007, to stand at 82.2 percent, the National Statistics Office said.

26th September 2008 The Retail Price Index went down fractionally in August, primarily reflecting a drop of 6.64 percent in the prices of clothing and footwear, the National Statistics office said.

26th September 2008 The registered unemployed numbered 6,121 in August, a drop of 469 persons when compared to the corresponding month a year ago, the National Statistics Office said.

27th September 2008 Total nights spent in collective accommodation establishments in July this year were recorded at 1,014,582, a decrease of 8.1 percent over the corresponding month in 2007, the National Statistics Office said.

28th September 2008 More effort should be made to create a closer link between the tourism sector and climate change awareness, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Mario de Marco said. Speaking during a tree-planting ceremony at Hastings Gardens in Valletta, Dr de Marco said that the tourism sector had experienced a positive year so far, keeping in mind the 12 percent increase in the tourism industry for the first six months.

29th September 2008 Parliament resumed after the summer recess.

29th September 2008 Günter Gloser, Germany’s Minister for European Affairs, arrived in Malta for a two-day visit. Mr Gloser met Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and the chairman of Parliament’s Foreign and European Affairs Committee, Michael Frendo.

30th September 2008 Tourism arrivals increased by 1.2 percent in August, despite a drop of almost 16 percent in the all important UK market, figures issued by the National Statistics Office showed.

30th September 2008 A provisional balance of payments statement for the second quarter of this year shows a deterioration in the current account balance of €123.3 million, from a net deficit of €46 million during the June 2007 quarter to one of €169.2 million, the National Statistics Office said.

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