Chamber urges greater efficiency in post-Brexit world
The Rock’s financial services sector continues to perform well despite Brexit uncertainties, but Gibraltar must work harder to ensure it facilitates the mechanics of doing business here, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce said yesterday.
In its latest annual report, the Chamber said that although Gibraltar remained attractive to investors, more must be done to ensure it is easy to do business here.
“The government has been woefully disengaged from the leadership role it needs to take to ensure this happens,” the Chamber said.
“Problems with taxis, lack of e-government, a civil service which suffers from leadership fatigue and a number of areas which continue to underperform.”
“This in turn leads to bad process and poor service becoming the norm. Take it or leave it.”
“On the odd occasion when a committed individual tries his or her best they are let down by their disinterested colleagues.”
The Chamber said the promise of continued post-Brexit access to the UK market – where Gibraltar does most of its business in this sector – had sent a positive signal to the market, with new opportunities opening up in different segments such as insurance, funds and banking.
The finance sector was outperforming expectations, the Chamber added, and Gibraltar continued to enjoy a solid international reputation.
But more must be done to address “irritation factors” that impact negatively on future prospects.
“It is sometimes painful to do business in Gibraltar and it will not get easier unless there is a root and branch change of attitude,” the Chamber said.
“This has to start with and be led by government.”
“The government needs to set an example and it must act in areas where a minority of service providers hold the economy to ransom.”
One key area of concern for the Chamber is e-government.
“In the 21st century we should be able to conduct business with government over the internet or by email,” the report said.
“Multiple trips to various and widely strung out offices is simply no longer acceptable.” “This is particularly the case where certain departments already hold the information but do not, or care not, to share it.”
Improved and streamlined services are critical at a time when Gibraltar is exploring opportunities in new areas such us the fledgling ‘fintech’ sector.
But a move into such cutting-edge areas of technology and business must be matched elsewhere too.
“It is incongruous that one can do all one’s banking on a mobile phone but one cannot book a taxi service unless the cruise terminal has no visitors,” the Chamber said.