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