Nationalist Party presents list of 91 proposals in pre-budget document
The Nationalist Party yesterday published its pre-budget document with a list of 91 proposals.
Most of the proposals presented had previously been mentioned by PN Leader Simon Busuttil during his Independence Day speech in Floriana. However, the new 76-page document, which is named ‘Let’s All Succeed Together’, looks into various sectors with particular attention to health, energy and Gozo.
The list of proposals was presented in five segments which include economic development, public spending, social justice package, the environment, health and education.
As written in the first pages of the document, these proposals were presented in the light of the fact, according to the PN, that “there is a growing disparity between those that are profiting from the economy and those that are struggling to make ends meet”.
The PN is proposing further reduction in energy tariffs, an idea which was also put forward by the GRTU and the Chamber of Commerce. As reiterated in multiple occasions, the PN is insisting that the fuel prices in Malta should be reduced.
One proposal suggests the creation of an urban regeneration fund which should be aimed at embellishing particular areas in various localities.
State guarantees for start-up investments by young entrepreneurs with “highly innovative projects” up to a tune of €250,000.
The list of proposals focuses a lot on the economic and urban regeneration of Gozo. In fact, the PN has dedicated quite a long list of proposals related to our sister island. The proposals include the provision of incentives for
business operators, the development of a long-term plan to address “the brain drain that has plagued Gozo.”
The PN also proposes the upgrading and embellishment works in Xlendi, Dwejra and Marsalforn areas – three key tourism spots in Gozo. “These tourism hotspots are in dire need of fresh investment since no improvement works were carried out over the past three years.”
This section presented in the document relates to the need for the government to control its spending. The PN is calling for an independent HR audit to determine optimal staffing levels in the public sector.
“Positions of trust should be rolled-back to the bare minimum,” the Opposition adds in the document.
It also calls for the need to address the precarious work in Gozo and the decentralisation of public services.
An interesting proposal suggests reducing the number of Ministries “since each division brings about an exponential increase in operational costs.”
The PN document reiterates the call to increase the working bonus. It also proposes the possible introduction of the second pillar pension.
The PN believes that the government should abolish income tax on pensions and consider reducing or eliminating the withholding tax on investments held by pensioners who are living close or below the poverty line.
A rent subsidisation scheme on privately owned properties that provides subsidy to tenants on rents paid for their ordinary residence leased from the private sector was also mentioned in the list. The PN said that this should be updated and extended to take into account and neutralize the increase in the rental costs of properties in Malta and Gozo without impeding the right of private landlords to establish the rent.
“Reduce the rent on social housing to 2013 levels by doing away with the socially unjust rental increases introduced by this administration,” it added.
It also proposes the idea of allowing parents to take sick leave in cases that their children are sick.
Environment and infrastructure
The document urges the government to publish a list of priorities which need to be addressed through the money collected by the IIP citizenship scheme and the tourism tax.
It says that the government should also review the high rise policy, especially in light of recent development permits.
Gozo is mentioned again as the PN proposes a fast-ferry service between the two islands and the need to have a second fibre optic cable. It also calls for the works on the Marsalforn breakwater to start.
On transport, the PN is proposing a study to look into the feasibility of having a light railway system.
It also states that public transport system has not improved and this despite the trebling of the subsidy given to the public transport operator. “It is not surprising that transport and traffic congestion, together with corruption, topped the list of public concerns in surveys carried out during 2016.”
Health and education
As insisted upon before in several occasions, the PN is insisting that the government should publish the contracts with Vitals Group on the privatization of the Gozo, Karin Grech and St Luke’s Hospitals. It also calls for more boutique care for the elderly in Gozo and, as Dr Busuttil said during his independence speech, to have free medicines for all those on pension.
On childcare, the Nationalist Party is proposing that the service should be provided for free even for those parents who are not in the working force. The document goes on in mentioning further investment in sports facilities and community care.
“The Education Ministry should assist financially Church and Independent schools in making sure that they have quality grounds and sports resources,” it adds.