PM slams Opposition’s 'baseless attacks' on the film industry

Prime Minister Robert Abela says government will not back businesses focused solely on importing workers

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela has weighed in on the cash rebates for film producers controversy, calling out the Nationalist Party’s “baseless attacks” against the industry.

“The Nationalist Party is attacking the country’s industries. We saw their unfounded and aggressive attack towards the film industry,” he said.

Abela was interviewed by Shanaya Farrugia on party station ONE Radio on Wednesday afternoon.

He said he did not understand the criticism being levelled against an industry which provides “good quality jobs to Maltese and Gozitans.”

The PM was speaking about government’s vision towards an economic transition which would be more sustainable for the country.

“Growth, from my perspective should occur within sectors that contribute positively to the environment and fair wages," added Abela.

Addressing businesses and investors, he said the economic model that relies on employing more workers, leading to an influx of foreigners to fulfil that need, needs to come to an end.

"Investors actively embracing this economic transition will receive governmental backing, while operators who resist adapting to this transition and persist in over-reliance on importing additional labour will be faced with government intervention," the PM warned.

Speaking on foreign workers, he said authorities will continue to ensure people abide by the country’s regulation.

"The authorities' message is that laws are there for everyone and need to be followed by all," he said, stating foreigners who do not follow the country’s rules will be deported.

"Whoever is a guest in our country is expected to follow the rules," he said.

On regulation of different sectors, Abela mentioned measures aimed at reducing illegalities.

He said regulations which have be introduced to regulate Y-plate and Y-tag holders. “This has been implemented to regulate the disproportionate number of vehicles in the public transport service sector.”

He also said the time has come for illegalities in the rental market to stop. "I support individuals owning property, renting it out, deriving income from it, and duly reporting their earnings. I do not support those exploiting the market for personal gain."

Throughout the interview Robert Abela was tight-lipped on the rubbish crisis facing the country.