[WATCH] Clyde Caruana: Private sector brain drain ‘worrying’ for government

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana says recent trends of private sector employees in Gozo moving on to public sector employment is “worrying” for government

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has said recent trends of private sector employees in Gozo, moving on to public sector employment, is “worrying” for government.

“Of course, the situation worries me. We are either going to employ a style of politics which helps the private sector to succeed or we do nothing,” he said on TVM’s Xtra Sajf.

Last week, The Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Gozo Business Chamber noted that several of their members keep reporting a significant loss of employees to the public sector.

Both chambers remarked that whilst they understand the needs of the public sector, overstaffing across various government departments and entities, eliminates business competitiveness.

Caruana said he understands the sentiment felt by private sector employers.

“I think the public and private sector should not be competing against each other,” he said.

The finance minister said the public sector’s way forward is not to continue expanding, but rather to aid the private sector in generating more wealth.

“We are either going to change the way we do things, or we are going to remain the same,” he said.

On the Budget, Caruana said it will be an opportunity for government to look back on how it managed its finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We kept the economy running successfully, while people retained their jobs,” he said. “We will also be presenting our vision for the country’s future.”

He said the pandemic’s effects on the economy were equivalent to 25% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Despite this, we are the only country whose jobs increased during the pandemic, and unemployment is lower that it was before,” he said.

The minister also said that he looks to ensure that the country is equipped for any future global crisis.

“History has shown us that every 10 years or so, the world faces a crisis, be it a pandemic or an economic crisis. I have to ensure that whoever is minister when that time comes, has the resources to face it, and help Malta emerge out of it successfully.”

On Rule of Law, Caruana said recent government reforms are being recognized by other countries. Other countries, like European Commission President Urusula von der Leyen, have welcomed these changes.”

“Like everything in life, you need time for changes to settle in, and for one to appreciate them. I am sure that in the coming months we will continue to be successful,” he said.

Nationalist Party Shadow Minister for Finance Mario de Marco called out government for increasing the country’s deficit.

“This deficit not only stems from COVID-19 measures, which the Opposition has always agreed with, but also from structural issues,” he said.

The Nationalist MP said certain deals made by the Labour government, such as the Vitals Hospital deal, are leading to “useless spending of tax money.”

“Malta has not benefitted from these deals,” he said.

He also called out the increase in public sector jobs in Gozo.

“We must look at value-added work,” de Marco said.