Citizenship sale 'is not about the cash', PM tells Dubai audience

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder was 'an exceptional circumstance' and everyone wanted justice, as he addresses yet another roadshow on the sale of citizenship

Maltese citizenship on sale in Dubai
Maltese citizenship on sale in Dubai

 

Malta is passing through a time of sorrow after Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder and the reaction of anger showed this was an exceptional circumstance, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said at the Global Citizenship Seminar in Dubai.

The Prime Minister extolled the virtues of Malta's Individual Investment Programme or as it is popularly known, the passport for cash scheme.

Muscat reiterated the message he relayed earlier in the day in a pre-recorded message to the EY conference in Malta that the murder was "an exceptional circumstance" and everyone wanted justice to be done.

"Malta, like other countries, does not live in a cocoon and we can fall victim to financial, security and climatic circumstances. The reaction of our people and our institutions was very strong and shows that our democratic credentials are second to none," he said.

Turning to the IIP, Muscat said Malta's economy was strong in spite of the scheme.

"Our Citizenship by Investment programme is not about cash or getting money to Malta. We are not in the business of giving away or to commoditize citizenship. It is not about cash or rich people and trying to get a slice out of them," he said despite the government having insisted that the IIP would leave Malta with a kitty of €1 billion when it came to be three years ago amid political controversy. 

Muscat said most of the people who applied were not the "headline grabbers" but rather "hardworking, self-made individuals" with a strong global network.

"The country is after attracting the right people, with the right talent and having the right network. We are achieving this and we are proud of what we have achieved so far," he said.

Muscat said with the economy growing at around 6% and public finances registering a 1% surplus, Malta was doing well despite the IIP. In actual fact, the general government's surplus last year was achieved as a result of the income derived from the IIP, something MaltaToday flagged in the last Budget.

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