Government in surplus even without IIP revenue, Finance Minister says

Strong growth in labour market is behind Malta’s success, Edward Scicluna highlights during address at 2018 National Reform Programme discussion

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna addressed a joint MEUSAC and MCESD meeting on the 2018 National Reform Programme
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna addressed a joint MEUSAC and MCESD meeting on the 2018 National Reform Programme

Economic indicators show that the government’s finances would still be in surplus, even if revenue from the Individual Investor Programme was deducted from the equation, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today.

Scicluna was speaking at a joint meeting between the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee and the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, where the 2018 National Reform Programme was being discussed.

The Programme, which forms part of the European semester’s diary, is aimed at putting into place necessary economic reforms, and applies to all European Union countries.

Any reforms will then be introduced in the October budget, Scicluna said.

The minister highlighted that the government had undertaken a national risk assessment of money laundering in all sectors in Malta, and took stock of any weaknesses. A three-year strategy will soon be announced, which would involve a national coordinating committee – including representatives from the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Revenue Commissioner – charged with undertaking the tasks necessary to deal with money laundering-related weaknesses in the system, he said.

He also underscored that the International Monetary Fund was undergoing a fiscal transparency evaluation of Malta.

“While I have no doubt on the transparency side, the evaluation will show us what can be improved in our system,” Scicluna said.

He emphasised that Malta’s economic success was a result of the government having tackled all the country recommendations which the EU had given Malta in 2014.

Real Gross Domestic Product growth predictions for 2018 and 2019 stand at 6% and 5.3% respectively, he said, indicating strong growth.

“The strong growth in the labour market is behind this success,” he maintained, adding that the government had also managed to lower the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion through positive budgetary measures.