Tobacco, cement and fuel excise back to pre-budget level

Government spend limited to 33% of 2012 levels until election

Tonio Fenech
Tonio Fenech

The government's recurrent expenditure will be limited to one-third of its €2.7 billion spend in 2012, finance minister Tonio Fenech said today in an explanation of his constitutional role as minister in the forthcoming four months prior to the 9 March 2013 election.

With 2013's budget not approved, the mechanism provided by the Constitution that comes into force will provide ministries up to 33% of the 2012 spend, up until the elections.

The capital expenditure programme of €424 million will not be affected.

While consumers will be pleased to know that cement and fuel excise and tobacco hikes have now gone back to their pre-budget levels, there will be no cuts in income tax and car registration tax until a new government is elected.

Measures that will be approved irrespective of the rejected budget are pensions and social services, the COLA, and the Air Malta subsidy.

But the Enemalta subsidy will be decreased to 33%, a decision that Fenech said should not affect utility rates.

Throughout these four months, Fenech will be responsible to balance the books between various government ministries since recurrent expenditure must not increase beyond the 33% mark.