Economy for the people, by the people

By Matthew Paris, PN councillor for Floriana

23 December 2015, 7:51am
Sandwiched between two major international events, the PN launched its very own economic vision for the next 10 years. Be it a PR mistake by the PN or simply that most media are more interested in unveiling scandals (since they sell more), this document and its contents failed to kick-start a nationwide discussion. Shame! 

Pity it is, since this policy document indeed could lead to bettering the economic vision for this country. The PN has always offered its creativity to ensure that Malta ensures a better future for itself and its people. Today’s document is earmarked to once again ensure that Malta moves away from any economic perils, but most importantly to ensure that everyone benefits from the good economic stature of the country.            

Some Labourites hail this government for its ability to ensure that Malta keeps well on its track, on the other hand some Nationalists lambast it for disregarding large pockets within the economy. The truth lies somewhere in between these two views, and from my reading of this document, it not only goes on to seek better and innovative alternatives for the future, but also to ensure an economy for (all) the people.    

I guess this economic policy document should be the very basis for discussion, both at political level and at business level. All stakeholders should ensure that a healthy discussion about the economy is ongoing, it is this that will make certain that Malta will truly have an economy for the people, and why not an economy by the people. Gone are the days when the State had a monopoly on creating employment, Malta must only ensure that it has a healthy atmosphere and a legal framework which allows growth – the rest will follow.    

De La Rue announcement – Two sides of the same coin 

Week ending 6th December 2015, will not only be remembered for the Climate Change talks held in France, but also for the announcement made by De La Rue – the company which claims to be “the world’s largest commercial banknote printer and passport manufacturer”. 

The 50 line press release highlighted a number of major issues affecting Malta, including (i) the closure of the existing banknote production in Malta; (ii) the restructuring will impact circa 400 jobs, with approx. 300 jobs being at risk of redundancy, mainly in Malta; and (iii) that the Group will invest €21 million to create a centre of excellence for identity and security print in Malta. 

The above has been synthesised into the following headlines by the following independent news portals, (a) “De La Rue to lay off 300 workers” – maltatoday.com.mt; (b) “De La Rue to axe 300 jobs; union objects” – timesofmalta.com ; (c) “De La Rue to create €21.3m centre for identity and security products, 300 jobs lost” – independent.com.mt; (d) “De La Rue thabbar ristruttar u investiment ta’ €21m. f’centru ta’ eccellenza f’Malta” – tvm.com.mt. 

Indeed one may argue that this is simply the heading to the article, with the rest being included within the substance of the article, however having the national broadcaster (alas mostly funded by taxpayer money) omitting such a sad news item from its main heading, is something which leaves me very much confused. This is not a partisan outcry against the national station, this is a simple appeal by a mere citizen (i.e. yours truly) to whosoever is in charge to be more sensitive to people.       

Zuckerberg. Press the ‘big like’ button

At long last, we all have a valid justification to spend hours on Facebook. As a matter of fact, “The Telegraph” claims that people aged between 16 and 24 spend more than 27 hours a week surfing the net. Clearly Facebook is a phenomenon which affects all age groups.  Interesting to point out that, for every hour we spend on Facebook, Zuckerberg and his business partners enrich themselves even further.   

However, Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that his family will donate to philanthropic causes roughly 99% of their Facebook stock, which is currently valued at close to US $45 billion, is indeed an incredible and amazing gesture. In an open letter to their newly born, Zuckerberg and his wife claimed that they will be doing so to help in “advancing human potential” and to “promote equality”.  

Most of us cannot even dream of being as generous as Zuckerberg et al, I for one can’t even count to US $45 billion, however generosity is not only about the sums donated, but principally it is all about the way it is bestowed.  

We are in the month where spending reigns supreme, also in the month where the local Maltese generosity is spelt out clearly through the Istrina telethon and other similar fund raising events. This should also become the month where we give a helping hand to others; needy, lone persons, and anyone else who struggles to make both ends meet.

Whereas Zuckerberg’s gesture deserves an all new ‘BIG LIKE’ button, we can also do our tiny part, be it a nice gesture or donation – in that every single time we help somebody to stand up, we are also helping humanity to rise.

Matthew Paris is a PN local councillor on Floriana