Stark differences in Delia's, Said's visions of Malta's economic future

The leadership campaign reaches its final furlong with PN party members due to choose their leader next Saturday

Chris Said (left) and Adrian Delia
Chris Said (left) and Adrian Delia

The two PN leadership contenders have expressed differing perspectives on Malta's economic future in their latest pre-electoral salvo, with Adrian Delia pledging to hold the government to account for families who are struggling to make ends meet and young couples who can't get a foothold on the property ladder, and Chris Said emphasising the need for a holistic plan for the next 10-20 years.

Said has promised a “robust economic plan” in two stages: the period 2022 running to 2030, and subsequently from 2030 to 2040. He emphasised the importance of strengthening and modernising the iGaming sector, but also that of utilising other untapped resources and economic niches.

“This economic planning also needs to take into account what foreign employment we need to import to our shores and what positions we should reserve for local talent – before the system becomes uncontrollable,” Said warned.

On his part, Delia promised to hold the government to account in the case of public sector workers who have lost overtime and allowances to favouritism. He vowed that together with the party, he would be “these workers' shield”.

Likewise he would stand up for the self-employed businessmen who were driven to bankruptcy “because of the incompetence of a government whose administeration of EU rules had allowed low quality foreign produce and services into the market, just as long as they're cheaper”.

“Government may have gotten away with previous success it inherited,” said Chris Said, “but this will quickly turn sour if left on its own."

"The economy will not grow or remain sustainable on its own - it needs the right tools, incentives and expertise to continue yielding results. Long-term planning is practically non-existent bar an unsustainable passport selling scheme shrouded in controversy. As Leader of Partit Nazzjonalista, I will commit myself to prioritizing like never before the implementation of a long term plan for our micro and macro economic pillars.”

The two contenders agreed that something must be done to reign in the out of control property market, with Delia promising to hold the Labour government responsible for the fact that young couples are increasingly unable to qualify for property loans because their work conditions “are continuously being chipped away”.

Said warned that this situation must be tackled quickly “because of the financial strains it is putting on young couples and individuals seeking a first property or new home, as in some cases the costs for property purchases and rentals has become entirely unsustainable.”

Surprisingly, only Delia made any mention of tackling corruption. He announced that an Opposition PN under his leadership would also hold the Government responsible for “the rot that has set in society 's values because of institutional corruption the Government has introduced.”

He promised to hold the Government to account for failing to seriously tackle corruption “with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, instead of being the prime mover against corruption, rewarding those who had been caught holding bank accounts and secret offshore companies.”