Muscat questions 2012 Budget projections and projects

Muscat questioned a number of projections and projects announced during the 2012 Budget speech.
Muscat questioned a number of projections and projects announced during the 2012 Budget speech.

Speaking in Parliament during the Budget debate on the Office of the Prime Minister's vote, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said that government has given no explanation in regards to a number of questions which arise from unclear and questionable policies and projections announced by Minister of Finance, Tonio Fenech.

Muscat said these "ambiguous announcements" were unacceptable at a time when Malta and the EU are calling for stricter budget discipline and transparency. Muscat asked: "Where will the funds for announced projects come from?"

Muscat raised serious doubts on the bunkering tax which is projected to raise €6 million. The PL leader asked government to confirm whether this tax will be upheld and how government intends to implement the tax.

"Some bunkering operators claim that this new tax would badly affect their competiveness and drive them out of the market. The operators are questioning whether the tax is legal and whether it respects EU law," Muscat said.

Muscat also had harsh words for Malta Enterprise (ME) and its chairperson Alan Camilleri. Muscat questioned ME's move from San Gwann to Gwardamangia at the ex-Institute of Healthcare in St Luke's Hospital at the cost of over €3 million.

"The ME chairman boasted about spending over €3,000,000. The chairperson is irresponsible and arrogant. This expenditure is another example of extravagant spending of public funds which could be better used elsewhere such as the maintenance of industrial estates. This arrogance is costly to our competiveness"

Muscat also questioned the implementation of several hyped-up projects such as Smart City the Corporate Village project and the White Rocks complex. Muscat asked whether these projects are simply on hold and whether government intends to go ahead with these much publicised projects.

Muscat said nothing was done in regards to the Smart City project and called on government to come clear on this stop-start project.  "Government should say if and when the project will be completed and how many people it would employ," Muscat said.

 

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Mark Fenech
The bunkering tax is going to move all such business away from Malta. Fuel Oil is sold with cost price plus about 4 to 5 USD/PMT. This to be competitive with the ports in Egypt, Greece, Sicily, Gibraltar. If we add a tax of €5/PMT that means Maltese Companies would not be able to compete for this business. Bunkering mainly consists of Fuel Oil and some diesel, but most of the market is based on the former product. On the latter product the additional rate is higher but the sales of diesel is very low compared to that of fuel oil. Who gave the Minister of Finance such proposal means that he is not versed with this business.
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""Where will the funds for announced projects come from?" ET will once again visit our planet and hand them to Gonzi on a silver plate. Easy no?