[WATCH] Economy needs to be measured by social wellbeing, PN says

The Nationalist Party said that it is time that Malta adopts a system whereby the economy is measured in terms of the social wellbeing of its population

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia

The way the economy is measured needs to change so that Malta moves on from GDP statistics to a wider measurement of social wellbeing, the Nationalist Party said.

PN MP Claudio Grech said that Malta needs to leave behind the existent concept of economic growth reflected only in numbers.

"Other countries are using models where the economy is measured on how the nation is living, what is referred to as the social wellbeing of the people. This goes beyond what the economy is doing.

"It takes into consideration that sector in society that hasn't seen a rise in wages despite the economic growth. This means that the measure we are proposing is that the economy is measured via its reflection on the quality of life, the quality of the education sector, the quality of healthcare," Grech said.

He added that another measured being proposed by the PN is to establish a minimum number of social and economic rights every individual in Malta is to have. 

"We can't simply hand out social benefits and leave the individual to his means. We have to leave the populist concept of passing out social benefits behind and cater for a more customised development that would encourage every individual's potential for social mobility," Grech said.

"Ultimately, the social wellbeing is reflected in the mental health of the population. We are still facing challenges in this sector and there's still a lot of stigma surrounding it. Social wellbeing's first priority should be that mental patients find clinical and social help."

In a press conference inside the Parliament building on Thursday, the PN said that it didn't just criticise the government in its pre-budget document published last week but also proposed several concrete measures aimed to make a difference in the lives of people.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia referred to a KPMG study on the construction sector published on Wednesday and said that such a study confirmed how it's almost impossible for young would-be tenants to afford their own property or find affordable rent.

"It's almost impossible to find rents below €600 and if you take one's average salary, you'll easily conclude that it's impossible for the average Maltese citizen to afford a roof over his or her head. 

"This is something that the government is not addressing. The government is actually guaranteeing that the situation will get worse when it says that the economic model is based on numbers and an increase in population," Delia said.