Walk the walk, not talk the talk
After a heavily financed promotion campaign for Budget 2017 reached its peak last week, with government adverts flooding local websites and social media, one would have easily been misled to expect the budget for the upcoming year to consist of innovative measures and incentives that positively impact Maltese families. Unfortunately this was not to be, and Minister Edward Scicluna’s three hour marathon once more proved to be nothing more than a cosmetic attempt at addressing present needs – intended to promise much yet deliver little.
Right from the off, government declared that only 73 per cent of last year’s budgetary promises had been actioned upon, meaning that over a quarter of what was expected to be carried out never even took off.
Labour’s budget for 2017 has been described as a cosmetic one for a defining reason. The measures have been carefully worded to put as little commitment at government’s feet as possible, and repeat deliverables which should have come into play in 2014, 2015 and even 2016.
For instance, Minister Scicluna has promised a cruise liner terminal and yacht marina in Gozo, a 50 million euro housing estate project, and pension and allowance scheme for careworkers throughout the budget speeches for the past three years – only to reiterate these promises last week once more. It seems that this government is using the annual budget presentation as an event for bold promises, with poor delivery and results each and every single year.
This lack of vision by Joseph Muscat’s government shows poor leadership. It seems that Muscat’s cabinet is too busy safeguarding its own interests, and has little or no time to focus on making Maltese families’ lives better through social and economic improvements.
In the run up to Budget 2017 the Leader of the Nationalist Party, going against precedent set by previous Oppositions, contributed ideas towards the betterment of society as a whole. In fact, two weeks ago the Nationalist Party presented a pre-budget document consisting of 91 proposals – 18 of which were actually taken on board by government and presented during Budget 2017. The Nationalist Party’s approach in this regard is indicative of how and in which manner Simon Busuttil will lead a prospective Nationalist Party government - walk the walk, not talk the talk.
Dr Busuttil’s is a concrete one, one based on realities and not empty promises. Everyone has the right to succeed – and success must be measured by giving every Maltese citizen the tools and incentives to better him or herself. Our citizens deserve a government which works in their favour, not its own.
These principles for succeeding together as a nation must be rooted on four basic principles – an economy which benefits each every individual in Malta and Gozo; social justice and equality; a better quality of life; and good governance. In the absence of these, the very basis of any government's roadmap for a better nation instantly dissolves – and it would befit Joseph Muscat to take heed of this.
Simon Busuttil has promised to establish its politics on such principles, which is a breath of much needed fresh air. No longer will government projects be shrouded in mystery or engrossed in controversy before they have even hit the ground. People need and deserve an open, transparent government they can genuinely trust.
In order to win over such trust, government must put at the forefront of its attention the every day challenges faced by Maltese citizens. The working and social lives of all, regardless of profession, skills and educational capabilities, must always and continuously be improved. Government resources must be utilised for the greater good, whereby it is the Maltese citizens who get to benefit from our economic results and not a select few and their commercial allies as the Prime Minister and his close aides insist on doing.
This is what vision is all about. It is time for government to realise what leading Malta forward truly takes, and move away from its modus operandi of self-enrichment. The Opposition benches are proving on a daily basis, perhaps discreetly yet effectively, that it has Maltese citizens’ interests at heart – and mostly importantly, that it will not rest on its laurels and will continue to pro-actively prove its credentials as an alternative to this fading Labour ad-