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At a time when serious long-term strategic decisions need to be
taken to turn over a new leaf in the most effective and quickest
manner, technology could well be Malta’s ray of hope.
The way technology is shaping and will continue to shape, every
sector of society is evident for all to see. Taking one of
Malta’s most prominent industries, financial services, as an
example, ICT occupies a pivotal role, from payments, which have
increasingly moved from cash and paper-based methods to the use of
digital solutions, as well as securities clearing and settlement,
electronic and algorithmic trading, lending and funding operations,
peer-to-peer finance, credit rating, insurance underwriting, claim
management and back-office operations.1
But technology is not merely key to the industries that are at
the forefront of Malta’s economy; it is, in itself, a
facilitator and a formidable ally in any jurisdiction’s
progress. Of course, it must be used well and wisely and brings
with it its challenges, including change – but any delay in
meeting these challenges and embracing the opportunities that
technology offers is wasted time – a commodity that our
island and its industries do not have.
In order to move away from the status quo, Malta must
necessarily achieve three principal goals: Inspire Trust; Reduce
Bureaucracy and Incentivise Technological Development and Uptake in
all areas of society. Technology could and should be a common theme
running throughout this narrative.
The first of these goals is the more difficult to achieve since
it does not depend solely on dedicating focus and funds but entails
a political commitment across the political divide to put partisan
politics and personal agendas aside. Good governance, integrity and
transparency at all levels of government and its institutions need
to be assumed and cannot be rendered ambiguous. Very short-term
thinking and a culture of nepotism that disregards skills and
competence in the public service and the market in general, on many
goods or services, is a recipe for disaster.
Technology can avoid manipulation, eliminate discrimination and
political favouritism and many other bad habits. Technology
executes objectively what it is coded to execute without favour or
fear of losing votes; but to implement it on a nation-wide scale in
a manner that is trusted, there must be audit and assurance systems
that check out the technology for any in-built flaws and to ensure
that it has been coded ethically. This is what was intended in the
technology regulatory laws …….