Walk the walk, not talk the talk

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Ni­cholas Az­zopardi Ni­cholas Az­zopardi is the Vice Pres­i­dent of MZPN

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-

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