Robert Abela aims for full economic recovery by May this year

Reflecting on the year behind us, the PM is aiming for a full economic recovery within the next five months, with business as usual starting as of May this year

A week after the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out began in Malta, Prime Minister Robert Abela hopes to have a recovering economy by March this year, and complete business-as-usual in May.

In today's radio appearance on the Labour party-owned media station, Abela said that for the country to go back to business within the next five months it's crucial for people receive the COVID-19 jab as soon as possible.

"By next may we want an economy that's back to business - but we also want a country with working institutions and strong governance," he said. 

Earlier in the interview Abela remarked that the current administration implemented all recommendations put forward by Moneyval and Greco reports, and made substantial changes within the police force, including the appointment of a new police commissioner and attorney general.

"Next May I want a recovered economy complemented by a country with strong institutions, good governance, functioning law enforcement institutions, and authorities that work as they should," Abela stated.

Immigration challenges

The PM reflected on the decisions taken over the year on the handling of immigration arrivals, taking particular aim at a court application funded by the NGO Repubblika which saw a group of 52 asylum-seekers take Abela, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri, and AFM brigadier Jeffrey Curmi to court after allegedly being pushed back to Libya while in Malta's Search-And-Rescue zone.

"While some were trying to put the soldiers in jail, we not only registered success in controlling immigration but we also made a collective agreement for our soldiers," he said, in reference to a sectoral agreement between government and the General Worker's Union which now sees soldiers receiving higher allowances and compensation for all work carried out above a stipulated 40 hours per week. 

"We currently have an immigration problem, but we are working to curb the arrival of more boats. This is a problem that you have to work on all year round, not just in summer," he said.