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Opposition leader meets Chamber, emphasises fiscal discipline
Opposition leader Joseph Muscat addresses members of the Chamber of Commerce in an open dialogue session.
17 July 2012, 12:00am
Opposition leader Joseph Muscat was addressing members of the Chamber of Commerce during a dialogue session at the Chamber's premises in Valletta this afternoon.
In his opening speech, Tancred Tabone, Chamber president, said that both political parties and the Chamber had one aim in common: the interest of the country and that the Chamber had no political interests whatsoever and didn't intend to enter any political arenas.
He asked Muscat how his party, if elected, intends to implement certain strategies without hiccups while reassuring the business community and the country at large that a change in government won't bring any undesirable shocks.
Tabone said that it was important to know how a new PL government would encourage women to work and how the party was going to tackle "blatant" social benefit abuse.
Tabone emphasised that as he has said publicly in the past, even to the Prime Minister, "false promises will get us nowhere and could be detrimental to the business community, therefore it was highly important for promises to be kept".
Muscat said that it was easy to decrease the country's deficit in no time but it would be unsustainable to do so and it was important to leave spending power untouched to enhance economic growth.
Muscat added that the country couldn't keep resorting to 'crash diets', comparing the country to a person who is about to get married who resorts to a crash diet when the wedding's over. "In this regard, the private sector would be the driving force of the economy because in today's environment, the state couldn't be the motor of the economy."
He said that a new Labour government would cut down on bureaucracy to simplify things and save time, but this change could only be made possible with the assistance of the Chamber. "Bureaucracy is the answer of a policymaker in order to seem transparent - leaving a trail of unnecessary documents and paperwork, complicating matters in the process."
On energy costs, Muscat added that to be more competitive, one couldn't allow spiralling costs - such as those in the energy sector. "Instead of burdening the taxpayer to make up for lost revenue in energy costs, a Labour government would take the necessary precautions and steps to avoid the situation to spiral out of proportion, adding that the country needed to create an energy policy.
"The fact that the Maltese economy has no energy policy, that it is 100% dependent on fossil fuels to produce its energy, puts Malta at the mercy of the international markets," he said
After Muscat concluded his opening speech, members of the press were asked to leave the room where Muscat was to have a question and answer session with the Chamber's members in private.
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