'Government brimming with confidence over economic growth' - Alfred Mifsud

Economist and former Labour candidate Alfred Mifsud says 2014 Budget shows government's confidence in achieving substantial growth.

The government is confident it can achieve substantial economic growth within five years, economist Alfred Mifsud says in an interview with Sunday newspaper ILLUM.

This optimism stems from the feel-good budget presented just months after winning the election, in contrast with previous legislatures where the first post-election budget used to be more demanding on the taxpayers.

"The government used to collect more in the first budgets to have more to spend at the end of the legislatures. This is becoming more difficult for the politician to do due to the internationalisation of our politics and the monetary union. But the budget presented shows the government is certain of yearly economic growth, that each year of the legislature will be better than the previous. Muscat's government does not believe in gimmicks," Alfred Mifsud says.

He underlines the first test for the government's projections is whether the country will achieve the 2.7% deficit mark by the end of this year.

"Only then will the EU commission believe that the budget is credible. Our reputation was tarnished last year when Tonio Fenech said the deficit was projected at 2.3% but in reality it turned up to 3.3%, a 1% difference. Only the results achieved this year may repair our credibility with the EU commission."

Mifsud labels the Opposition's critics as 'simplistic', saying Simon Busuttil was wrong to say that families would be paying more taxes.

Read more in today's issue of ILLUM