Nationalist Party questions government’s readiness for economic downturn

The party presented its pre-budget document to Malta Council for Social and Economic Development this afternoon

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Yannick Pace
4 October 2017, 3:35pm
PN leader Adrian Delia insisted that the pre-budget document shows the Opposition to be constructive towards the Government
PN leader Adrian Delia insisted that the pre-budget document shows the Opposition to be constructive towards the Government
The Nationalist Party has questioned whether the government was doing enough to prepare for the future, insisting that the economy moved in cycles, and it was therefore important to determine whether enough was being done to prepare for a potential future downturn.

Addressing journalists before a pre-budget meeting with the Malta Council for Social and Economic Development (MCESD), Delia stressed that it was the third year in which it was publishing a pre-budget document where it was "fundamentally showing that the Opposition will be a constructive one."

"The idea is to improve people’s lives rather than create obstacles for the government," he said.

He said the document had been prepared after consulting a number of experts in various economic sectors, as well as by listening to what people were "feeling".

"We want to be closer to the people when laying out policy," said Delia, who added that economic analysis should not only take into consideration numbers, but should also take into account how people were being affected, hence the theme, 'A Sharing Economy', he said.

Delia underscored the importance of strengthening existing economic sectors, as well as establishing new ones, that could grow in the future. The PN leader stressed that he did not want to be partisan when talking about which governments had done most in this regard

Another priority for the PN, said the soon-to-be Opposition leader, was the issue of whether government was succeeding in passing on wealth created to the people.

"Government does not create wealth, it gives direction for wealth to be created," he said, explaining that it was businesses and workers who actually created wealth. "A government’s wisdom lies in how effectively is finds ways of distributing this wealth."

He underscored the fact that Maltese consumers were still paying more than the European average for fuel, calling on the government to give "clear direction" and to ensure that people pay a price which is equal to, or lower, than the European average.

Furthermore, he said that it was not right for the government to continue charging excise duty on products that "people used every day," adding that as things stood, people this "tax" cancelled out any gains made through other measures.

On the retail sector, Delia said this should not be handled in "an impulsive way", while also suggesting that several urban centres around Malta needed to be regenerated.  

"There are many facets to reality facing the Maltese people and there are certain zones that are not benefitting from the wealth created and which are suffering more than others," he said.

The PN once again appealed for more to be done to find opportunities, as well as deal with the potential threats of Brexit, with Delia suggesting “not enough was being done”.

On next year’s Valletta 2018 celebrations, Delia questioned how much was being done to "keep what is being attracted" to Malta especially when it came to niche sectors.

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...