[WATCH] PN proposals costings will be published closer to election - Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech says party’s costings of proposals will be published in the coming weeks amid a campaign of giveaways from both main parties

PN leader Bernard Grech walked through the Birgu Market on Tuesday morning
PN leader Bernard Grech walked through the Birgu Market on Tuesday morning

The Nationalist Party will publish a document with the financial costings of its election proposals closer to voting day, party leader Bernard Grech said on Tuesday.

After a walkabout through the Birgu market, Grech said that the party would give a proper overview of the costs of their proposals in the coming weeks.

“Costings will be announced - it’s not because we don’t have them right now or that we’re not prepared, but because we will publish a document where things will be clearer.”

Last Thursday, the Nationalist Party approved its manifesto for the 26 March general election.

During its launch, Grech told the party that the manifesto is the product of countless discussions and debates with civil society, social partners and different sections of society.

Among the proposals is the introduction of a new yardstick known as Environment, Social and Corporate Governance, by which a Nationalist government would reward socially and environmentally responsible behaviour.

In this way, the state will create a level playing field between businesses complying with onerous social and environmental targets when competing with those who don’t.

The manifesto states that the ESG should have environmental criteria, including carbon neutrality and responsible land use; social criteria, which exclude precarious labour conditions; and governance criteria that include compliance to all fiscal obligations, indicating that tax-evading business would be excluded from state incentives.

Businesses that respect these criteria would qualify for tax advantages like a proposed 15% tax rate on the first €500,000 of company profits which are reinvested in the company.

Other benefits conditional on ESG compliance include the payment of 50% of wage costs for three years whenever a small family-owned company employs an additional employee for a period of at least three years.

During the first week of election campaigning, the Nationalist Party came out with a €1 billion investment package to create new sectors while strengthening others.

The identified sectors include compliance and due diligence, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, e-sports, and video game production, strengthening the sports industry by linking it to medical and tourism sectors, energy sectors, and social enterprises.

On Monday, Grech further revealed that a Nationalist government would ensure that 50,000sqm of public land will be granted outside-development zone (ODZ) protection every year.

For any development to take place on ODZ land, a two-thirds consensus would be required in parliament.