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Updated | PN outlines economic development and public spending in budget proposals

The Nationalist Party packaged its proposals for Budget 2017 under economic development and public spending, as well as social justice, environment and infrastructure, and health and education

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks
7 October 2016, 3:32pm
Last updated on 7 October 2016, 6:03pm
Deputy PN leader Mario de Marco said that the document identified a number of major stumbling blocks that need to be overcome to ensure sustainable growth
Deputy PN leader Mario de Marco said that the document identified a number of major stumbling blocks that need to be overcome to ensure sustainable growth
Lower household utility bills, lower energy tariffs for business, an increase in employees’ statutory bonus, no income tax on pensions, free medicine for elderly people, less ministries and the introduction of a national masterplan for high-rise development are among 91 proposals the Nationalist Party put forward for government’s consideration for the 2017 budget.

As it did in 2015, the PN once again presented a pre-budget document, ‘Let’s All Succeed Together’ (read document here), putting forward a number of proposals for government's consideration.

The proposals are presented under five packages – economic development, public spending, social justice, environment and infrastructure, and health and education – aimed at stimulating further economic development.

Mario de Marco, deputy PN leader for parliamentary affairs and finance shadow minister, said that the document identified a number of major stumbling blocks that need to be overcome to ensure future sustainable growth.

These include the sale of 49% of Air Malta’s shares, security, manufacturing, infrastructure and Brexit.

One major challenge was the fact the country was failing to create new economic or business sectors to boost financial activity, as the previous government had done with the promotion of the iGaming industry, financial services sector and the aviation maintenance industry.

De Marco said that in the case of lower energy and utility tariffs, as proposed, the PN could not propose definite figures since the government had not yet made the contracts with Electrogas and Shanghai Electric public.

“We do not know what commitments the government made as to the price of oil, we do not know what leeway the government has allowed to be able to switch to the interconnector in the case this proves cheaper for Malta,” de Marco said.

“If we do not know what the government is currently spending on energy supply, we are not in a position to be able to say exactly by much the household utility bills and the businesses’ energy tariffs should be reduced.”

De Marco said that the government had a duty to do with more with less, in everything it did.

Referring to the appointment of people to positions of trust, he said this system needed to be revised urgently, as it was ridiculous for a position of trust to be created for a dog-handler, or for the appointment of a full-time driver to a part-time chairman.

In reaction to the publication of the PN’s document, the Labour Party said the PN was set on firing people from the civil service, despite having now said an audit should be carried out beforehand.

The PL said the opposition was recommending that everything now be privatised, even though it had previously criticised the government for the €320 million investment that had strengthened Enemalta.

PN leader Simon Busuttil, the PL said, wanted to turn back time while prime minister Joseph Muscat continued to guarantee jobs and lower unemployment.

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...