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Budget 2013 | Muscat’s Cabinet is 23% costlier than preceding executive

Total salaries for ministerial secretariats is €10 million but individually Muscat’s ministries cost less than Gonzi’s small Cabinet – 2013 estimates

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
10 April 2013, 12:00am
Over the next five years, Muscat's new ministers and parliamentary secretaries would have cost well over €50 million.
Over the next five years, Muscat's new ministers and parliamentary secretaries would have cost well over €50 million.


Joseph Muscat's enlarged Cabinet of 14 ministers and eight parliamentary secretaries has shot the cost of Malta's political offices up by 23%, or €1.9 million over and above the €8.1 million that Lawrence Gonzi's Cabinet was estimated to have cost had it been re-elected.

A comparison of the line items appearing in Budget 2013 as presented by finance minster Edward Scicluna this week, and the financial estimates presented by his predecessor Tonio Fenech back in November 2012, show that Joseph Muscat's Cabinet of Ministers and their political offices comes at a cost of €10 million.


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The costs include salaries for political office holders, their secretariats, bonuses and income supplements, allowances and overtime.

On average, Gonzi and his 13 ministers cost the exchequer €579,961 to run; Muscat's 14 ministers and eight junior ministers on the other hand cost €436,104 - 24.8% cheaper when taken on an individual basis.

Under Muscat, top political salaries are over €810,000 excluding bonuses and allowances - estimated to take that figure to over €1 million - and their secretariats cost 20% more than the Gonzi cabinet's at €6.2 million.

Clearly, Muscat gets more bang for his buck even though Opposition leader Lawrence Gonzi has criticised the new prime minister for increasing the costs of running government. "I assure the prime minister that he would have find enough cash for all programmes, had this government not exploded recurrent expenditure with a Cabinet made up of a record number of ministers, parliamentary secretaries, consultants and their assistants," Gonzi told Muscat in his reply to the Budget earlier this week.

Muscat on the other hand has insisted that his ministers have not been paid any of the increased salary that Gonzi's Cabinet paid themselves in 2008 when their salaries were topped up by an average of €25,000 a year. The 'secret' pay rise led to national outrage and widespread discontent in the Nationalist backbench, since the increase was camouflaged as an increased MPs' honorarium that was not given to other MPs. Ministers had to refund the increase they pocketed back in 2011, and then had their salaries cut in January 2012 when Gonzi announced a Cabinet reshuffle.




 
matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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Even if it is 23% costlier it will be 300% more effective and efficient.
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Roger Strickland
Naqbel hafna ma Dr. Muscat ghax permezz ta dan ikolnna aktar sejeta u traparenza
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l0 miljun euro fis-sena izjed, i.e 50 f'legislatura shiha. Allura? Gonzi qalilna li 49 miljun euro hija qatra f'ocean, allura jekk il-cabinet bl-energija u l-hila li qed jahdmu biha jigi jiswa 50 miljun hija xi dawgha? Issa hallu lil PM jahdem halli jerga' inaddaf u jibni l-pajjiz mill-gdid