PN says Government's budget plans will increase dependency

Opposition finance spokesman Tonio Fenech urges government 'not to play around with the national deficit'

Nationalist MP Tonio Fenech, former finance minister
Nationalist MP Tonio Fenech, former finance minister

The government’s plans for the upcoming budget will actually increase dependency, Opposition finance spokesman Tonio Fenech said. The government’s pre-budget document is entitled ‘Creating Opportunities, Not Dependencies’.

"National statistics show that Malta’s economy is only growing, and unemployment only decreasing, because the government is employing a lot of people within the public sector and increasing the country’s deficit,” Fenech said.  

“3700 new people were employed within the public sector in the 13 months up until April this year,” Fenech said. “An average of 10 people get employed within the public sector everyday.”

“This is an artificial and unsustainable form of economic growth and it is creating a weight on the national deficit. The government’s target was to keep the deficit at  €154 million but it is now €210 million. I urge the government not to play around with the national deficit.”

Fenech pointed out that the economic problems in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal were a result of their governments spending a lot of money and consequently piling up the national deficit.  

Fenech said that the government should start investing more in the private sector as part of a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth.

“The government is ignoring the problems in the manufacturing industry, imports and exports have decreased, foreign direct investment has declined by 24% over the past six months and Malta has slipped down six places in the Global Competitiveness Index. Malta is now in the fourth competiveness category, the one described as ‘moderate or stagnating competiveness’.”

Fenech also said that the number of people in full-time jobs has decreased by 612 while the number of people in part-time jobs has increased by 2,738.

“Labour themselves described part-time employment as precarious,” Fenech said.

Fenech also pointed out that 40% of the wage rises in the first six months of this year were for public sector jobs, despite there being three times more private sector jobs than public sector ones. “This confirms that the government is the main driver in our economic market,” Fenech said. “It’s good that salaries for public sector workers have increased but it hasn’t been balanced out by similar increases for private sector workers.”

Fenech said that low salary rises for private sector jobs is the reason behind why shop sales have declined.

“People aren’t buying enough and the retail trade is suffering,” Fenech said.