[WATCH] Gozo hospital no longer viable without Vitals investment, Muscat warns

Prime MInister Joseph Muscat warns that the Gozo hospital would no longer be viable without the investment by Vitals Global Healthcare and Barts Medical School

Without the investment of Vitals Global Healthcare, the Gozo hospital would no longer be viable – especially since the building was literally falling apart – leading to job losses and a greater economic loss for the whole island, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat warned tonight.

“If the project and the investment is not allowed to continue as planned, patients will be going to Malta for treatment and staff will be downsized,” he warned. “Forget about new jobs being created if this investment is halted.”

Muscat, who was addressing a public political activity in Sannat, said that the new hospital in Gozo, coupled with the medical school, would have a huge economic impact on Gozo, not only through the jobs created, but also on other numerous services.

He urged workers at the hospital in Gozo not to believe those who tried to frighten them into believing that they would not longer be government employees.

The Labour Party leader insisted that Gozo had never before seen the level of investment it registered in the past four years and never before had more projects been completed in Gozo than under this administration.

“And we are putting forward more solid proposals that show that we do not want to turn Gozo into an old people’s home, but we want to turn it into an economic motor,” he said. “We are not going to pay people €10,000 to move here, but we have proposed a three-year tax exemption for business to relocate here.”

Muscat said that such measures would continue to help business growth in Gozo, as would other measures like offering companies €10,000 for every Gozitan worker they employ on a teleworking basis.

“As to students who need to move to Malta to pursue their studies at the University, we will give their parents a tax rebate of up to €5,000 to make up for their expenses when renting accommodation in Malta,” he said.

“This is the largest packet of investment and measures that has ever been proposed for Gozo with a clear path to generate economic growth on the island.”

As to the fast ferry service between the two islands, Muscat said that the tender would be adjudicated in the next few months, after 12 offers had been submitted following a call for tenders, including three from foreign companies.

He criticised the opposition’s pledge, made earlier in the day, to leave the Institute for Tourism Studies in St Julian’s without knowing where it would be situated if the DB Group project was given the go-ahead.

“Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had no answer when asked where he would situate the ITS, and that once again the big difference in the credibility between him and the Labour Party,” he said.

On the Malta Files articles published in Malta and abroad today, revealing how many foreigners were using Malta’s fiscal system to avoid paying the full amount of tax they would pay in their home countries, Muscat said he hoped no one in Malta was glad that the country had been targeted today.

“I will continue to defend Malta and Gozo because that is my duty as prime minister and as someone who loves this country,” he said. “In moments such as this, I would hop we can all come together to defend our country against attacks on our fiscal system and attacks on our economy that has become the envy of Europe and the world.”