Abela reticent over details of his €30,000 government role

‘The issue not whether my wage is justifiable or not...’ says Labour Whip who earns combined salary that is more than what Prime Minister earns

Government whip Carmelo Abela (Photo: Ray Attard)
Government whip Carmelo Abela (Photo: Ray Attard)

Labour whip Carmelo Abela was cagey about his role as an official ‘government’s spokesperson’ during an official press conference he gave Wednesday evening, where he announced the 17 November for Budget Day.

Abela recently stated on Net TV’s Iswed Fuq l-Abjad that he was being paid €30,000 for his new government job, over and above a €30,168 salary he recieves as Labour Whip, tagged at 75% of the civil service’s Salary Scale 1.

Abela was asked whether it was justifable that he was earning almost as much as the Prime Minister, who takes 125% of the Scale 1 salary apart from a €7,000 car allowance and other allowances, bringing the total to just under €60,000.

“The details of this role are confidential, but the role of ‘government spokesperson’ doesn’t just mean that I am tasked with speaking to the media. I quit my private job, I get paid as much as the Opposition Whip, and the Prime Minister offerred me the spokesperson’s role.

“The issue is not whether my wage is justifiable or not,” Abela, a former banker, said. “It worries me that you are speaking about whether my salary is just or not, when I came here to speak about the Budget and how well Malta’s economy is doing.”

Members of the OPM’s secretariat have salaries fixed at civil service scalary scale 3, or €33,853, as that enjoyed by Kurt Farrugia, who is the head of government communications.

Budget 2015

Abela’s press conference was convened to remark on the preparationsfor Budget 2015, which he said will realise Labour’s electoral pledge to reduce energy tariffs for businesses in 2015 and to add discretionary measures for pensioners and employees for whom the forthcoming 58-cent COLA will not be enough to mitigate inflationary and other pressures.

He said the European Commission had reacted positively to Malta’s draft budget position, and that a request for Malta to pay back €13 million into the EU budget on top of its better economic performance, was a good sign. “The finance minister will meet up with eurostat officials to discuss details about this requested top-up,” Abela said.

“Opposition leader Busuttil was convinced that we’d be knocking on Europe’s door for a bailout after only a few months in governance. Not only have we not requested a bailout, but our economy has grown. Busuttil is isolated from the positive reality that families and businesses are living in.”

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