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[WATCH] Muscat: This is the first government that is thinking about future generations

His government, he said, will have left today's youngsters a legacy of wealth and well thought out plans

23 May 2017, 6:53pm
Last updated on 23 May 2017, 8:20pm
Labour leader Joseph Muscat (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
The present government was “one of the first” to have implemented measures that would serve the country’s future generations according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Speaking at a political activity in Mellieha, Muscat insisted that the government did both “big things and small ones” for the country, and above all spoke through facts.

“Facts that make a difference to people’s lives,” he said. “Facts that will not only impact the nation today, but will also impact future generations.”

He pointed to the country’s shift to gas as an example of how his administration was forward thinking and took the Nationalist Party to task over their decision to loosen emissions limits in 2008, to facilitate Danish company BWSC being awarded a tender to build a power plant that ran on heavy fuel oil. He said that his had been done despite the government of the day having been advised that natural gas would be a better choice.

“Now we have a clean energy system because we think about tomorrow and not just today,” said Muscat.

The country generating a surplus was also an example of how the government was thinking of future generations, according to the Prime Minister.

“In 31 years, we had not saved a single cent,” he said, adding that not only had the government not borrowed more money, but it had also managed to “erase the debt” accumulated over the previous legislature.

He said that through the government’s plans, the country was expected to generate a surplus of €50 million a year, and that government finance statistics to be published this week would show whether last year’s surplus was a one-off, or the start of a new trend.

“This week we will know for sure, if in the first four months of the year, we continued with a surplus or returned to a deficit,” he said.

Turning to one of three new water treatment facilities which was inaugurated earlier in the day, Muscat said the government had invested €22 million in three facilities which would allow the country to reuse a quarter of the country’s sewage and convert it to water.

“We will be giving it free of charge to farmers, industry and hotels,” he said, adding that in countries like Singapore, the same quality water was used for drinking.

He said that the water would be given for free in order to show that it was good, since farmers were still sceptical about this type of water. Despite farmers’ scepticism, he said that the country could not allow the salinity of its ground water to continue to increase.

He said farmers would soon realise that the water is better quality and will result in less stress on the country’s groundwater.

“This is the first government that is not only thinking about today, but is also thinking about future generations,” he said. “They will say that we left them wealth and clear plans.”

He criticised the Nationalist Party for not yet having published a manifesto, despite the fact the country was only 11 days from the 3 June election and insisted that Busuttil should have known better when he suggested he would be funding his proposals using EU funds.

He stressed that not only had the government used all the funds allocated to it, but had also allocated funds from the next round of funding.

According to Muscat, a PN government would have one of three options open its election: to not follow through on its promises, send Malta into an excessive deficit procedure, or increase taxes like VAT or social security.

“Had we not been eleven days from an election it would be funny, but it’s not,” he said.

Similarly, he said that Busuttil stating that the fire at the Sant Antnin waste treatment facility was the government’s fault would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

The good outweighs the bad

Muscat insisted with those present that while the government had made mistakes it had also done a lot of good.

“On a balance the good far outweighs the bad” he said. “You can feel it in the economy, the quality of the air and the way we protect the weakest in society. Even the EU says we are moving forward”

He said that yesterday the Commission had issued its country specific recommendations, and had only suggested two for Malta.

“With the exception of Denmark which had one, our country had the second lowest number of items to address,” he said. “In the past, it used to be a cut and paste exercise and the commission would have to make the same recommendations every year.”

On the country’s financial services sector, Muscat said the commission had made one recommendation to Malta, as it had done for a number of other countries.

“They told a number of countries that they were not doing enough on corruption as well. They did not say the same about Malta,” said Muscat to loud applause.

Muscat concluded by saying that Simon Busuttil was “terrified” of the possibility of the inquiry being completed before the election.

“I am informed that tonight the magistrate told Busuttil that the documents he had presented to him do not have anything to do with the case at hand,” he said. “His only aim was to delay the inquiry by another five days. What is Simon Busuttil afraid of?”

He said he had learnt to expect anything from the opposition and would not exclude further lies in the coming days.

Muscat insisted that once the inquiry finds that there was no connection between Muscat or any member of his family, and the company Egrant, Busuttil would have to take responsibility for his actions.  

“I will personally see to it that he takes political responsibility and any other type of responsibility for the damage he has done to Malta’s reputation,” he said, once again insisting that he had called an early election instead of waiting for the inquiry to absolve him before doing so.