‘Budget of optimism’ presents positive measures – PM

Muscat: agreement with Chinese investors Shanghai Electric Power will be announced soon and a much needed inflow of revenue from fuel excise from Enemalta will be paid.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addresses a post-Budget conference outside parliament. Photo: Ray Attard
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addresses a post-Budget conference outside parliament. Photo: Ray Attard

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Addressing the media following an unprecedented four-hour presentation of Budget 2015, Muscat described Labour’s Budget as one based on optimism, pushed by the principle of a government breaking away from tradition and one year after the other presenting a budget with positive measures.

Flanked by deputy prime minister Louis Grech and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna against a backdrop of ministers, MPs and members of the general public, Muscat said electorate who believed in the Malta for all programme were now seeing its implementation.
“We are changing the economic structure of this country. We have exceeded all expectations, registering economic growth and creating wealth which we are now redistributing,” he said.

Muscat said measures were being implemented without increasing debts while the deficit target of 2.1% will be met. The government is now eyeing the more ambitious target of 1.6% for next year. This, Muscat said, would be the lowest deficit ever registered in Malta.

Muscat said the government could not ignore the 58c COLA increase, which is why it was decided to give a €35 bonus for pensioners, students and workers. Middle-income earners will benefit from a €19 million tax cut as previously announced.

“We will be helping those in need but we have to curtail abuse. This is a budget that is also eyeing stability in fuel and gas prices,” he said.

Muscat said the social aspect of the budget was to redistribute wealth and the €400 per child for families on low income was one such example.

He said the Budget reflected an unprecedented commitment in favour of persons with disability.

Between tariff cuts for both families and businesses, the two sides will be jointly saving €80 million next year, he said.

Muscat said the agreement with Chinese investors Shanghai Electric Power will be announced soon and a much needed inflow of revenue from fuel excise from Enemalta will be paid. He said, the budget was not dependent on the sales of passports while new social benefits announced will be analysed after a year to study whether they should be repeated the following years.

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