The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce said more must be done to bolster Gibraltar’s response to Brexit and ensure continued economic growth.
In a statement, the Chamber said clients, investors and visitors who represented the future for Gibraltar’s post-Brexit economic growth were becoming “increasingly frustrated” with aspects of Gibraltar’s economy.
It flagged up issues such as the taxi system, inadequate signage for tourists, inefficient e-government and the “shabby” appearance of many parts of Gibraltar.
In doing so, it called for more leadership from the government to rally all the sectors of the community to work together in the face of challenges ahead.
This comes after the Chamber consulted many members across a variety of business sectors on the impact of possible Brexit.
It said it had been encouraged by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s words in his post referendum budget speech, in which he said: “…. We have to be ready to do more, go further, work harder, be more efficient and wield greater influence than ever in building our common future.”
However, the Chamber said that feedback from its members suggests that this proposal has not been fully adopted by the community, be it government departments or other public service providers.
“This is particularly the case when it comes to dealing with visitors to Gibraltar, whether they are businessmen or women arriving at the airport to find empty taxi ranks or tourists finding their car clamped in a car park or rejected at the last minute from the Upper Rock due to inadequate signage,” the Chamber said in a statement.
“The car queues to get into Gibraltar are predominantly caused by a mixture of the Gibraltar based inspection regimes at the frontier and the physical blockages of the two lanes, be it mopeds randomly parked, the taxi stand or Customs vehicles, on our side of the border.”
“Can we not ‘do more, go further, work harder, and be more efficient’ in making access easier for our citizens, workers, investors and tourists?” the Chamber asks.
The business network further emphasised that it has received several comments by members and some visiting business people that parts of Gibraltar are looking decidedly shabby, with increased litter and deteriorating cleanliness.
Maintaining a clean environment requires all sections of the community to pull together, however, the Chamber said this must be orchestrated by government.
The Chamber added that it was promised an E-government environment to improve the efficiency of how government services interact with the public, be they consumers or businesses.
It appears that the initial momentum has dissipated, the Chamber said.
According to the Chamber, the MOT online appointment system has not been working for months.
To get an appointment now usually requires three separate visits to the test centre, one to obtain an extension, one to book the MOT test and one to attend the MOT test, it said.
It is “hard to imagine a more inefficient system”, that Chamber said, adding that this is just one example.
“Our point is that Government should accelerate the stated desire to ‘do more, go further, work harder and be more efficient’ as our clients, investors and visitors who are indeed the future for our post-Brexit economic growth, are increasingly frustrated,” it added.
“Now is the time for Government to lead all sections of the community to pull together, for the good of all of our tomorrows,” the Chamber said.