Updated | ‘Government is creating a cancer factory’ – Simon Busuttil

Simon Busuttil says government is allowing traffic problem to worsen and resulting in a ‘cancer factory’ • PN leader says government is built on lies

PN leader Simon Busuttil, Photo: Ray Attard
PN leader Simon Busuttil, Photo: Ray Attard

(Adds tourism, energy ministries reaction)

PN leader Simon Busuttil has today lambasted the government and Joseph Muscat, claiming amongst others that in allowing the country’s transport problems to “worsen,” the government is creating a cancer factory.

Speaking on Radio 101, the Opposition leader took umbrage at the government for “not fulfilling” its promise to alleviate traffic situation, insisting that the situation has become worse.

“It is an insult to say that it is just a perception. Had the traffic problem remained the same, the PN would have given the government the benefit of the doubt since it has been in tenure for less than two years, but the situation has become worse.”

“The real cancer factory is not the BWSC plant that Joseph Muscat said, but in reality, it is the growing congestion of traffic. The government is creating a cancer factory as it is allowing drivers to suffer from the poisonous feel and emissions,” he said.

Busuttil argued that coupled with the government’s “unfulfilled” pledges on Air Malta and Enemalta, the country’s traffic problems “highlights that the government is built on lies.”

“The government had promised that the power station would be built within two years and that if this does not happen, he would resign. Another lie was the gas storage facility needed to be in Marsaxlokk so that the power station could be completed on time.”

“The power station is classic case of the government’s lies. That is why we want a parliamentary debate tomorrow: to uncover the government’s lies, and so the people could hear the truth,” Busuttil insisted.

Moreover, the Nationalist Party leader questioned whether the new power station was needed, claiming that the utility tariffs for domestic users were nonetheless reduced.

Explaining the PN’s alternatives, Busuttil said the party wanted to reduce utility tariffs through the savings of the BWSC plant and the interconnector. On the other hand, Busuttil said, the government is entering into a commitment to buy the electricity produced by the BWSC plant and that generated by the new power station – electricity, which according to Busuttil, produce more than Malta need.

Busutitl also argued took exception at the government for “secretly” buying Enemalta’s Petroleum division for €83 million.

“Whereas the government held a press conference to announce a 2c drop in petrol prices, it did not say anything on a transaction involving €83 million of the tax payer’s money,” Busuttil argued while taking the government to task on its “lack of transparency.”

Turning his stride on Air Malta, the PN leader argued that the Opposition is “seriously concerned” on the national airline.

Busuttil’s comments in the wake of Air Malta chairwoman Maria Micallef announcing that the national airline is forecasting a €16 million loss by the end of the financial year in March 2015 – the same year it is supposed to be breaking even.

The PN government had agreed a restructuring plan with the EU and it had been followed. While we [the PN] were responsible, this plan was being followed, but as soon as the Labour Party’s tenure started, so did political interference within Air Malta,” he said.

“As soon as the government took office, Air Malta was no longer moving forward with its plan. The third Air Malta chairman is complaining that the management structure had been dismantled, more so because the CEO has also been changed three times,” he added.

Energy, tourism ministries blast "inconsistent" Busuttil

In a statement published this afternoon, the energy ministry took Busuttil to task and argued that the “real lie is when the previous government said it would be impossible to reduce the utility tariffs.”

The ministry also stated that the previous administration had “told families and businesses to get used to high tariffs,” and that is now trying to take credit for the decrease in tariffs.

Blasting Busuttil’s “inconsistency,” the energy ministry argued that the utility tariffs were “only reduced through the investment to convert the BWSC plant to gas.”

Meanwhile, the tourism ministry also took exception at Busuttil after the latter said that the week’s events at Air Malta “highlighted the government’s lies.”

“Where was Simon Busuttil when under the previous administration Air Malta saw some of its best workers leave, and when foreign officials were paid millions and left a huge whole in the airline’s management?” it asked.

The tourism ministry argued that the government is intent on ensuring that the airline meets its restructuring plans by 2016.