‘Stop unsustainable spending,’ Bencini says on daily €590,000 debt interest

Government debt in 2023 reaches €9.7 billion, as shadow finance minister calls for stop in recurrent government spending

A PN billboard criticising government spending in the last Budget
A PN billboard criticising government spending in the last Budget

Shadow finance minister Graham Bencini has called out the state of national finances, saying a rise in €910 million in national debt over 2022 has taken the figure to €9.7 billion at the end of last year.

Bencini claimed Malta’s debt servicing was now costing the country €590,000 in daily interest.

“At least €4 billion of this debt has accumulated just under Robert Abela’s premiership,” Bencini said, citing statistics from the National Statistics Office.

Up until December 2023, debt servicing costs totalled €214 million, an increase of €41 million over 2022 – around €4 million a week.

“In the last Budget, the finance minister announced a new €1 billion debt issue again, meaning higher debt servicing costs for the country,” Bencini said.

In 2022, Malta’s deficit was of €982.2 million, 5.7% of its gross domestic product, registering the EU’s fourth largest deficit, where the average rate was of 3.3%.

“It’s concerning, because very soon EU member states will be agreeing to new fiscal rules on financial sustainability. This debt is a burden for future generations. The government must immediately put a halt to the wastage of public finds and to control its unsustainable, recurrent expenditure, as recommended by the IMF,” Bencini said.