PN govern­ment to serve, not use, the coun­try – Simon Busut­til

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Noel Grima

The two po­lit­i­cal par­ties yes­ter­day be­gan their out­door party ac­tiv­i­ties on Sun­days, with Labour hold­ing a party con­fer­ence at Ghaxaq and PN at Nadur.

Speak­ing at Nadur, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion Simon Busut­til said that a PN govern­ment will serve the coun­try in­stead of get­ting the coun­try to serve it, as the present govern­ment is do­ing.

Dr Busut­til said that as he was cross­ing over to Gozo, a Gozo Channel em­ployee told him how he and his mates have been used by Labour. They had been promised they would be made to work for govern­ment, but in­stead they were shifted on to a con­trac­tor with bad labour con­di­tions and in a pre­car­i­ous work en­gage­ment, while they work along­side peo­ple with a very dif­fer­ent con­tract from them.

The Na­tion­al­ist Party is in pol­i­tics to serve peo­ple, not to get served by them. Labour, on the con­trary, used its pre-2013 elec­tion cam­paign to make prom­ises and get votes, then spent the next three and a half years fool­ing peo­ple. This week, Mario de Marco will un­veil the party’s pre-Bud­get doc­u­ment, the sec­ond year run­ning the party is do­ing so.

Dr Busut­til then pro­ceeded to out­line some of the salient pro­pos­als.

The party is committing it­self that pen­sion­ers will not pay In­come Tax on their pen­sions. If the prime min­is­ter finds it dif­fi­cult to do this, it would have been bet­ter to do this in­stead of spend­ing €100 mil­lion on a 24-mem­ber Cab­i­net.

PN will also pro­pose to re­move tax­ing of re­turns on in­vest­ment by up to 35%.

The el­derly will also be given by a PN govern­ment free ac­cess to medicines in­clud­ing those not at present on the free medicines list. They will not need to go beg­ging to the Pres­i­dent for money to pay for medicines. These com­mit­ments will cost some €9 mil­lion which the govern­ment can find by not giv­ing eg €4 mil­lion to bail out Cafe Premier.

A PN govern­ment com­mits it­self to pro­vide free chemo­ther­apy to all who need it.

As re­gards so­cial hous­ing, PN com­mits it­self to re­verse the in­creases the govern­ment has levied on hous­ing rents. This was a tax on poverty.

At the same time, peo­ple in pri­vate rents are find­ing it hard to pay eg €500 a month to rent an apart­ment. A PN govern­ment will re­vert to a Chris Said scheme when a min­is­ter, to help those who rent from pri­vate in­vestors.

Dr Busut­til, as Ryan Cal­lus had done a few min­utes ear­lier, re­ferred to the meet­ing held with de­vel­op­ers last week. The PN’s aim is to get de­vel­op­ers im­prove the qual­ity of life of the build­ings they build.

An­other PN com­mit­ment is to cut down the Cap­i­tal Gains Tax if the de­vel­op­ers build build­ings with a high en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

The same tax may be curbed in case of those who de­velop in ar­eas that are de­clared to be in need of re­gen­er­a­tion.

But the pro­posal that got the Nadur au­di­ence all en­thu­si­as­tic was the one that promised less taxes for those who build in Gozo.

Fur­ther help will be given to de­vel­op­ers as an in­cen­tive for them to pur­chase more eco-friendly equip­ment such as trucks or plant.

Dr Busut­til next re­ferred to his pro­posal re­gard­ing the tram or light railway and its pos­si­ble im­pact on Gozo.

“In the present sit­u­a­tion, stu­dents from Gozo who study at the univer­sity hire a flat in Malta and then their par­ents move over to be near them. That is what is de­pop­u­lat­ing Gozo,” Dr Busut­til said.

“With the light railway plus the pro­posed tun­nel be­tween Malta and Gozo, peo­ple from Gozo can be at the univer­sity, the air­port, Val­letta etc in 30 min­utes, and in the evening they can re­turn back home and will not need to rent a place in Malta.

“The day af­ter the PN an­nounce­ment on the light railway, Min­is­ter Joe Mizzi an­nounced he is com­mis­sion­ing a study on a light railway. Then he also an­nounced a study on the Mal­taGozo tun­nel af­ter three and a half years of do­ing noth­ing in this re­gard. The govern­ment is copy­ing all that PN is do­ing.

“But the govern­ment does not get one thing right. To sup­port Leo Brin­cat it clashed with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. And af­ter the an­nounce­ment that Crane would be com­ing to Malta, it was dis­cov­ered that the Chief of Staff in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter is the Malta agent for Crane’s equip­ment. So through this con­flict of in­ter­est, if the Crane move suc­ceeds, the Chief of Staff will be ben­e­fit­ing.

“The Joseph Mus­cat govern­ment is send­ing one clear mes­sage: any­one who wants to in­vest in Malta has to pass through a very nar­row path. PN, on the con­trary, will en­sure a level play­ing field.

“The gas tanker, which was to have ar­rived in Malta by now, is now near Saudi Arabia. The whole busi­ness is very wor­ry­ing. It makes no sense for Malta to have com­mit­ted to take elec­tric­ity from this plant for 18 years while it could get cheaper elec­tric­ity from the In­ter­con­nec­tor.”

Fi­nally, Dr Busut­til re­ferred to the Mal­taTo­day opin­ion sur­vey which shows that the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two par­ties is now within the mar­gin of er­ror. That means that the elec­tion can go ei­ther way. In three and a half years the 36,000 Labour ad­van­tage has been whit­tled down what used to be seen as a 10-year task.

Dr Busut­til ended on a ris­ing note, urg­ing the party to work hard so as to win.

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