Gonzi says Malta should be proud of 2011 achievements

PM Lawrence Gonzi says Malta should be proud of achievements despite turbulent events, and PN backbencher Franco Debono endorses President’s proposals on Constitutional reform.

Gonzi believes the 2012 budget ensures that the country is prepared for the social, economic, environmental and cultural difficulties ahead.
Gonzi believes the 2012 budget ensures that the country is prepared for the social, economic, environmental and cultural difficulties ahead.

In his closing address to parliament after a six-hour debate on the Office of the Prime Minister estimates, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi defended this year's budget, saying it was characterised by seriousness and prudence. Gonzi said these characteristics were in evidence in the manner by which government dealt with the international financial crisis and the Libyan crisis.

Gonzi tanked all officials working with departments and directorates his office is responsible for. Gonzi said the EU directorate within the OPM should be praised for its valuable work. "The EU Directorate was responsible for placing Malta among the top two ranked EU countries in a recently published assessment about the efficiency in utilising the EU funds for the 2004 - 2006 period."

"The Opposition does not recognise government's achievement in various fields such as the environment, road works and the economy. Some members of the opposition do not even know how the EU works as they expect us to use the available funds in one year and not over the set period of time."

Gonzi said the country had performed admirably in regards to tourism. Gonzi said the Libyan crisis meant Malta was involved in humanitarian rescue operations which threatened the tourism sector but Malta was set to achieve another record in  regards to tourist numbers at the end of the year.

Gonzi also said that Malta was one of the very few countries that will achieve a deficit below 3% of nominal GDP, accusing the Opposition of being negative and of cheering only failed targets. "The opposition is opportunistic and lacks substance," he said.

Gonzi said that unlike other countries, nobody is taking to the streets in Malta to protest about social and economic woes. "Instead of protests we have students celebrating their graduation," the PM said.

He said the economic results were encouraging and Malta was doing well in job creation but more needs to be done to improve conditions of certain workers.

Gonzi also criticised Opposition leader Joseph Muscat for his contribution to the parliamentary debate on the OPM. Gonzi said Muscat only mentioned four points and did not say anything of importance.

In reply to Muscat's earlier intervention, Gonzi said the mobile phone tax will yield €700,000 in tax revenue and the only thing to change is the method of measuring the tax.

Gonzi said the bunkering tax was not new and the government is looking into the possible effects this tax might have on  the operators' competitiveness after that the GRTU had raised some points regarding this matter.

Gonzi also said that Muscat was "obsessed" with capital projects, such as the new Valletta City Gate and the Smart City projects. Gonzi said these projects will help Malta make a leap in quality in culture, tourism, economy and other fields.

The prime minister also defended Malta Enterprise, and said the new project in the pipeline - a bio-technology park - will be another "feather in our cap".

Gonzi said he was surprised by the Opposition's harsh criticism of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM). Gonzi said the AFM deserves recognition for the brilliant results it achieved in a challenging year. Gonzi said the AFM received international acclaim for its participation in foreign missions in Libya nd Somalia. "It is a shame to criticise the AFM after the results it achieved this year," Gonzi said

Gonzi said he hoped that the national airline, Air Malta, will find its feet in 2012 and become profitable in the following years.

Gonzi said it has not closed the door to the Sargas as this administration does n ot close the door to any proposal. Gonzi added that his government is not pretentious and does not accept whatever is thrown at it. Gonzi said the Opposition's famous proposal to reduce electricity tariffs is tied to the Sargas proposal.

The PM said "Government's aim is to reduce the country's vulnerability, by gaining access to energy through interconnectors and a gas pipe line with Europe in order to switch to gas. Gas should not only be used by our power plant but should be used all over the islands. Another target is to stablise prices and increase the share of renewable energy in the production of energy.

Gonzi said that government will never shut down completely the local generation of energy but must distance itself from market instability. The PM added that Malta should be careful with waste created by energy generation and no new problems should be added to the problems we currently face. Gonzi said the energy strategy will be announced in the coming weeks.

In his concluding remarks Gonzi said the 2012 budget makes sure that the country is prepared for the social, economic, environmental and cultural difficulties ahead.

Gonzi said he is proud of the results achieved by his government in very difficult year due to the European and international financial crisis and the regional instability created by the unrest in Libya

Speaking in Parliament earlier this afternoon, Nationalist MP Franco Debono said President George Abela was correct in calling Constitutional reform as "necessary".

Debono said it was PM Lawrence Gonzi who initiated talks on Constitutional reform when he invited Opposition leader Joseph Muscat to participate in discussions inside the select committee for the strengthening of democracy. "However, for some reason the committee stopped functioning," Debono said.

Debono said that thanks to his efforts and the insistence of other MPs the national debate on Constitutional reform is "gaining momentum".

Debono said the President of the Republic is above partisan politics, however the President is the guardian of the Constitution and is right in taking the initiative in this debate. "The President's proposals are very interesting and more than fitting to carry on the process. The PN is also giving this reform importance and it has included Constitutional reform in its 'Our Roots' document," Debono said.

Debono said he favours past proposals to elect the President of the Republic with a two-thirds majority in parliament. Debono added that the law on political party funding which he has drafted himself should act as a catalyst for Constitutional reform. Debono said the Prime Minister will soon announce and launch the parliamentary debate on this proposed law.

Dream on Mr.Gonzi just remember to wake up in a few months time so we can show you how proud we are of you.
I wish Gonzi was as obsessed about SMART CITY as Muscat has been accused of being. For different reasons though. Gonzi clearly is irritated by everyone mentioning Smart City. He forgets the fanfare and big talk when announced. Then he expects that everyone just forgets it when he has difficulty delivering. 4500 jobs is no joke and he just acts defensively to criticism instead of explaining why he hasn't been able to deliver. Instead he moves onto the next thing and issues nice glossy brochures of projects and ideas that never come to fruition unless funded by his deals with his mates.
Of course, Malta should be proud of its 2011 achievements - we are all very, very proud of the SMART CITY masterpiece - after all there are now some 4,500 employees in IT there, no? It is a real disgrace that the Prime Minister and his henchmen who were so vociferous last week about what happened 25 years ago, did not even mention one single word about his greatest flop of the last 25 months in Parliament this morning!!!!! But then, as long as Gonzi smiles and puts on his artifical grin, then everything is ok. But perhaps BONDIPLUS will allocate one of his many TVM slots on this project in the coming days !!!!! That will be the day !!!!
Gonz, spicca iz-zmien li tghaddi in-nies biz-zmien. Ftakar li bejn sema u bahar hemm 1,500 vot u siggu wiehed.
Priscilla Darmenia
Gonzi reminds me of the fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Cloths” where he sees himself in the best performance and the people around him support this for being afraid to loose grace with him, but a child had the courage to shout that the Emperor was naked. We, the people, have been screaming that Gonzi is naked and he does not listen.
Depends. We ARE proud of having introduced divorce despite the government's attempts to prevent it. On the other hand the bus service was a major fiasco. The White Elephant semi-theatre and the Parliamentary Aquarium are two monstrosities in the making. The road network is in such a disastrous state that when a road gets a new veneer of tarmac it's seen as a cause for billboards to be erected to commemorate the event.
Il vera prim ministru li maqtuh mil polz tal poplu. Jekk sejrin daqs hekk tajjeb, sejjah elezzjoni u l poplu jurik
u meta tismighu tahseb li allahares ma kienx hu ghal libyani.kif ma isemmi xejn fuq il 500euro li hadu hu u il klikka.shame on him
Luke Camilleri
AKWISTAJNIEH! Fiex-xorti sibnih! OF COURSE HE IS proud OF HIS ACHIEVMENTS, he gave himself and his gang of Ministers €500 a week salary rise BLESSING their Buzollotti ! He just talks like he is talking to himself in the mirror!