Come clean on real public finances situation, PN says

Opposition says Brussels report ‘quashes’ government credibility

Finance minister Edward Scicluna holding up the Budget case. Photo: Ray Attard
Finance minister Edward Scicluna holding up the Budget case. Photo: Ray Attard

The Opposition said that a formal statement issued by the European Commission stating that the 2015 budget was at risk of non-compliance, while also doubting the targets set for 2014, was “truly worrying for the prospects of the Maltese economy”.

The PN said Brussels had quashed government’s credibility on the stability of finances, pointing at the lack of effort to correct the deficit as well as the increasing levels of debt.

“In particular, debt levels have risen significantly since March 2013, fuelled by increases in the public sector wage bill and the operational expenditure by Labour’s hugely-inflated Cabinet. Since March 2013, government has managed to increase Malta’s debt levels by over €500 million – a staggering increase of €3 million with little new capital investment to justify such an outlay,” the PN said.

The Commission also expressed doubts on the levels set for 2014, where contrary to the indications continuously given by the government, the Commission’s reaction with regards to government’s finances for 2014 was that the performance was “far from what was recommended”.

“Worryingly, the Commission points out ‘the risk that the correction of the excessive deficit may not be achieved, owing to the apparent lack of a sufficient effort to support it’,” the PN said.

The PN pointed out that the target for this year are still very dependent on the power station and public transport sagas.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed that Transport Malta had made €30 million in losses, which, as was the case with the €60 million in losses taken over from Arriva, were not included so far in government’s financial books.

“Should the ambitious financial targets being set by government with regards to energy and public sector be met, the deficit and debt levels will spiral to uncontrollable levels,” the PN said.

The Opposition pointed out the irony of the EC calling on government to implement the necessary reforms in the pension sector, just a day after Edward Scicluna’s bold declaration that “the future is looking brighter for pensions”.

“It further confirms the parallel world Labour’s Cabinet seems to be living in. We urge the government to come clean about the real situation of the country’s public finances, in order to avoid any negative surprises for the Maltese public in the coming months.

“Rather than seeking creative measures to reach its targets, presenting the real picture is crucial for the stability of the Maltese economy. Achieving financial stability is essential not only for the stability of our family's future but in keeping Malta as an attractive investment location – an area, where the country can afford no further setbacks,” the PN said.

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