Bud­get 2017 will be a truly so­cial bud­get – PM Joseph Mus­cat

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat said that the 2017 bud­get will be a truly “so­cial” one, as it will be gen­uinely help the most vul­ner­a­ble sec­tions of so­ci­ety. He ex­plained that the econ­omy must grow first and then spread the wealth gen­er­ated, and not the other way around.

His com­ments come dur­ing a po­lit­i­cal event in Marsa, where he was in­tro­duced by No-Port­fo­lio Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi.

Dr Mus­cat said that there are sec­tions of so­ci­ety, such as those who have ex­pe­ri­enced in­creases in rents from so­cial hous­ing, will be taken care of.

“It’s time for the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, the gen­uine ones who are not abus­ing, to ben­e­fit the most from the up­com­ing bud­get. Those who are abus­ing are not steal­ing from the big guys, be­cause the big guys will al­ways be ok, but they are steal­ing from vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple who des­per­ately need the help.

“This year’s bud­get will be truly so­cial, and will give more to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple then ev­ery be­fore. This is part of the roadmap and we could not have car­ried out such a move prior to this. First you start with in­creas­ing in­vest­ment, you cre­ate a climate and en­vi­ron­ment that pro­duces a lot of fruit, and then you in­crease ben­e­fits so that all Mal­tese and Goz­i­tans can en­joy and ben­e­fit,” Dr Mus­cat said.

Stan­dard and Poor’s rat­ing agency up­grades Malta to ‘A-‘

“Three years ago we found Malta in dire straits, but to­day we have a se­ri­ous coun­try that is en­joy­ing suc­cess. In­ter­na­tional agen­cies that sur­vey the eco­nomic con­di­tions of a coun­try (are say­ing so) with­out pres­sure be­ing ex­erted on them.

“Malta’s rat­ing was in­creased for the first time in 20 years.

“The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment did some good things, but the gen­eral di­rec­tion was clearly bad for the coun­try. In three and a half years, this gov­ern­ment has changed the di­rec­tion and we are now reap­ing the fruits of our labour,” said Dr Mus­cat. He ex­plained why good rat­ings by such agen­cies are im­por­tant: these are fac­tors which at­tract for­eign in­vestors, and apart from that Malta would be able to bor­row from in­ter­na­tional lenders such as the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund at lower rates of in­ter­est, be­cause there is more trust in the coun­try.

Dr Mus­cat made ref­er­ence to Malta En­ter­prise ap­prov­ing 45 projects be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2016, cre­at­ing 800 new jobs. This fed into the skills-gap is­sue in Malta, with Dr Mus­cat de­scrib­ing how em­ploy­ers com­plain that there are not enough peo­ple to higher.

He then high­lighted the re­moval of need­ing a trad­ing li­cense, which im­proves the goal of sim­pli­fy­ing pro­cesses and can save new busi­nesses any­where be­tween €70 and €1,000 a year. New busi­nesses no longer need to wait 28 days be­fore they can start op­er­at­ing; this has been re­duced to 10 days, be­low the EU av­er­age. This is a “probusi­ness” gov­ern­ment, be­cause this al­lows gov­ern­ment to in­crease pen­sions and care for its peo­ple, said Dr Mus­cat.

In­con­sis­tency of Si­mon Busut­til

The big­gest prob­lem of Op­po­si­tion Leader Si­mon Busut­til is that he says things with­out think­ing them our prop­erly – which is a big prob­lem, Dr Mus­cat said.

“A fine ex­am­ple of this is Dr Busut­til’s close friend say­ing that she never called the LNG tanker dan­ger­ous (re­fer­ring to PN Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­i­dent Anne Fenech’s com­ments af­ter it came to light that her firm has links to two sep­a­rate tankers). The PN should be protest­ing against the oil and fuel tanks in Birżeb­buġa,” said Dr Mus­cat.

Co­hab­i­ta­tion Bill

Speak­ing about the co­hab­i­ta­tion bill, he said cou­ples who are liv­ing with their part­ner but are not mar­ried will be “pro­tected by law, once and for all.”

This law has been promised from the 90s, but noth­ing was done about it, he said.

“This is a gov­ern­ment that gives its peo­ple cer­tainty, pro­tec­tion and re­spect. I look to the fu­ture, and I look for­ward to pre­sent­ing this so­cial bud­get, and ex­plain­ing who re­ceives what ben­e­fits and why.

“It will be a sign of a bud­get with a gov­ern­ment that has a plan. A gov­ern­ment that sta­bilised the econ­omy, im­proved on it, and not the next step is for a more even dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth.”

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