Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo

The proof of the pudding

 We have worked hard and we will work even harder because the ultimate aim is to improve and raise the standard of living in our country to the highest level possible

evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo
15 March 2017, 7:40am
During a recent Xarabank programme, the Prime Minister stated that all expenses related to the running of the new home for those suffering from the degenerative disease ALS, will be borne by the state
During a recent Xarabank programme, the Prime Minister stated that all expenses related to the running of the new home for those suffering from the degenerative disease ALS, will be borne by the state
During a recent Xarabank programme, the Prime Minister stated that all expenses related to the running of the new home for those suffering from the degenerative disease ALS, will be borne by the state. The audience and the viewers of the TV programme were ecstatic with the news but in this euphoria, one comment either went unnoticed or received little coverage. Joseph Muscat said that this was possible thanks to the performance of the economy and that this arm of support was a duty. The government does not make money to hoard it, but to spend it wisely.

And the Maltese economy has made great progress in these last four years. This was not at the expense of the raising of taxes, on the contrary. In 2015 alone, 54,000 Maltese citizens benefitted from a decrease in personal tax. In its winter forecasts published last month, the European Commission stated that it sees a positive future for Malta’s economy. It also states that Malta’s economic growth is expected to remain well above the average of the other EU member states. It also describes the growth in 2014 and 2015 as exceptional.

This did not happen by chance. This Labour government has planned and charted a course to success carefully. Whereas the opposition is intent on attacking individuals on personal issues and often on their pay scale, the choice of technocrats has delivered the desired results. At Enemalta, an inherited debt of some €900 million has decreased by €700 million and this corporation is now running at a surplus. The EU report shows that during this legislature, the debt generated by the three previous PN-led governments will be wiped out and Malta will again revert to the levels of debt of 1998.

One of the pillars of the economy is employment. During these last four years, the number of those unemployed has hit a record low whilst at the same time the number of gainfully occupied in Malta and Gozo is the highest ever recorded. This is partly due to the incentives that we have introduced, including the free childcare scheme and the benefits for those returning to the workplace.

Education has played a significant part and we are working hard to make sure that the educational experience is a lasting experience. In fact, we are now geared better to cater for early school leavers and for those who were previously regarded as NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training), by providing a greater access to alternative learning programmes, apprenticeships and traineeships. This provision was part of the ‘Youth Guarantee’ that we pledged in our manifesto and which we are proud that we have delivered. Through MCAST, we have added a number of courses to ensure that education for all and lifelong learning is not just a policy but also an achievement that will benefit our youth and society in general. The internationalisation of education has also contributed to the success of education in Malta and Gozo.

Healthcare in Malta has improved rapidly. In 2013, there were around 27,000 patients waiting for some type of surgery. This figure has now gone down to 14,000 and we will do better in the near future. This government has increased cancer medicine as part of the formulary and we have pledged far more reform and availability of cancer medicine in the near future.

The financial sector has also performed well and this is primarily to the stability of the country and to the policies that have been adopted by this government. In tourism, we have now reached record arrivals and departures, where an increase of 22.5% has been registered for the number of Maltese travelling abroad.

All the above and more have contributed to the economic wellbeing of the country. Nevertheless, by far, the biggest improvement has been the increase in disposable income of families in Malta and Gozo. The significant decrease of electricity rates has boosted personal finances. Businesses too have benefitted and it is estimated that hoteliers have made a saving of around €5 million on electricity bills. 

There is no doubt that the main reason for this feel good factor is the increase in the spending power of the people. We have worked hard and we will work even harder because the ultimate aim is to improve and raise the standard of living in our country to the highest level possible.

Evarist Bartolo is Minister of Education and Employment

DealToday
follow us on facebook