Labour government’s energy policy has failed, Adrian Delia says

The Nationalist Party leader said that this week’s fuel price increase was the result of the government without a plan

Adrian Delia said that despite making energy its battle cry before the 2013 election, the Labour government's energy policy had failed
Adrian Delia said that despite making energy its battle cry before the 2013 election, the Labour government's energy policy had failed

The government’s strategy in the energy sector has proved a failure, despite the fact that it was a central part of the Labour Party’s 2013 election campaign, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said on Saturday.

“The issue that the Labour Party placed at the centre of its [2013 general election] campaign we now know has failed,” Delia said during a brief phone-in on the party’s NET FM.

The PN leader was speaking about the increase in the price of fuel which was announced earlier this week, and which he said that people and small business were having the suffer the consequences of having a government that lacked a plan for the sector.

The increase, he said, came during the same week in which saw the biggest drop in the international price of oil in the last four years.

“It’s ironic, because normally discussions about the price of fuel locally reflect what is happening in international markets,” Delia said.

Delia said that the last time the nation was paying a similar price was when the international price of oil stood at $103 a barrel, and not its current price of $54.

“So, the government definitely can’t use the excuse that the international price of oil has gone up which means that the reason must be that the government doesn’t have a plan,” Delia said.

He said the country could now say that the energy policy in place has failed, insisting however that this was no cause for celebration for the Opposition since it wasn’t “high-ranking officials” who were paying for this, but rather everyday people and small business, many of whom were struggling to make ends meet.

Delia pointed to the fact that “all of the country’s unions”, including the Labour-leaning General Workers Union had spoken out against the increase, stressing that despite this, there had bene no reaction by the government.

The price hike, he said, needed to be viewed within the context of people having to use more fuel because they are being forced to spend increasingly long periods of time stuck in traffic.

Turning to statistics published yesterday by the National Statistics Office, which showed the number of cars in Malta continuing to increase, Delia again insisted that people were suffering because of a government without a plan.

This, he said, was evident in the current plans for the upgrading of the Santa Lucija roundabout and the surrounding area, which he said would result in the government redoing works it had invested €90,000 in just two years ago.

“How can you invest €90,000 in a project when you are meant to know that you will be redoing it in two years’ time?” Delia asked.

He said the statistics showed that government was doing nothing to reduce congestion, arguing that while it was positive that the bus service operator was adding more buses to its fleet, this was of no use if the bus also got stuck in traffic. Without a punctual service, people would never shift to public transport, he added.

“You need to remove cars from the roads so that the bus can get through,” Delia said.

The increase in Malta’s population, he said, meant that cars were likely to continue increasing, and that while government was currently widening a number of roads, there was a limit to this strategy’s effectiveness.  

“I am saying this because I have spoken to traffic management experts, and I insist that unless there is an effective mass transport system the problem will not go away,” Delia said.

He said the PN was consulting experts to come up with a viable system and would be making its own proposals in this regard.