Budget schedule goes ahead despite uncertainty

House of Representatives approves schedule to be followed for the Budget debate.

House of Representatives. (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
House of Representatives. (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)

As Opposition leader Joseph Muscat prepares for his speech in parliament reacting to the Budget presented by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech last week, yesterday evening the House of Representatives approved the schedule to be followed for the budget debate.

Despite a looming vote that will most likely see the Prime Minister calling an early election, procedure in parliament had to be followed and seven days have been scheduled during which funds allocated for each ministry will be debated.

Muscat is expected to deliver his speech this evening at around 6:30pm while Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi will reply next Monday 10 December. The first vote will be taken right after Gonzi's reply.

So far, Nationalist MP Franco Debono hasn't exhibited any change of heart over his declared decision to vote against the Budget.  Even the election of Simon Busuttil, "the uniting force" as described by the maverick MP himself, has seemingly failed to convince Debono to side with the government.

In comments to MaltaToday, Debono described Busuttil's election as a "very tiny step. The writing has been on the wall for years. His election is irrelevant to how I will vote in the upcoming Buget vote."

On the other hand, if the Budget makes it through next Monday, the following schedule has been agreed upon by the two sides of the House:

  • Tuesday 11 December: Ministry for Education and Employment from 9am till 4pm; Ministry for Health, the Elderly and Community Care from 5:30pm till 9:30pm
  • Wednesday 12 December: Ministry for Gozo from 9am till noon; Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication between 5pm and 9:30pm.
  • Friday 14 December: Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs from 9am till 2pm; Ministry for Tourism, Environment and Culture between 5pm and 9:30pm.
  • Saturday 15 December: Ministry for Justice, Public Consultation and the Family from 9am till 2pm.
  • Monday 17 December: Ministry for Finance, Economy and Investment from 9am till 3pm; Ministry for Fair Competition, Small Business and Consumer Affairs between 6:30pm and 9:30pm
  • Tuesday 18 December: Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 9am till 1:30pm; Office of the Prime Minister and Home Affairs between 5:30pm and 9:30pm, to be continued the following day between 9am and 1pm and between 5pm and 8pm

Mela ahjar ma jaghddiex il vot ghagx inkella kapricc ta gonzi ser inkaxkru il budget kwazi sal festibtal milied u noqtlu in naqra business li baqa. Do us a favour franco and stop this nonsese by voting against the budget