Finance Minister expects surplus year’s end, labels PN’s pre-budget document as ‘negative’
Rebecca Iversen Finance Minister Edward Scicluna yesterday labelled the PN pre-budget document as ‘negative’, while also saying that he can almost guarantee a surplus by the end of the year.
Directly remarking on the assessment by Shadow Finance Minister Mario de Marco, that the PN’s pre-budget document referred to the problem of poverty to be ‘growing in magnitude even if the statistics point to the contrary’, Scicluna disagreed, saying that many statistics show otherwise and such a notion cannot be an issue of opinion.
In reference to the new Leader of the Nationalist Party, Adrian Delia, the Minister said that while ex-leader Simon Busutill had been negative towards the economy, the new Leader is claiming the economy is doing well but he is attributing such excellent economic results to the last Nationalist government.
On the subject of the surplus, the Minister said he is informed that the government is expecting to end the year with a budgetary surplus. “We can almost guar- antee that we will once again finish with a strong surplus by the end of the year.”
The Standard and Poor’s credit rating agency has also revised its assessment of Malta from stable to positive, Scicluna noted. “They had upgraded Malta from triple B to A- and now they are revising it from stable to positive. This was changed in a year or two, meaning they are upgrading Malta by another notch.”
Scicluna cited a second ‘positive’ document, issued by the National Statistics Office, which showed that from January to August, the government’s Consolidated Fund registered a surplus of €31 million which, compared to last year, indicates a substantial increase. He also referred to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index, published earlier this week, in which Malta rose by four places in the rankings.
Additionally, although Malta found itself in the throes of a snap election this year, political instability had had little effect on the economy or finances of the government, Scicluna claimed. “We believe that this year’s surplus will show an increase over last year’s because the economy is still strong, despite the election. People did not slow down their businesses and the economy kept on going. It really was a minor blip, overall. This cannot be said for other general elections, when the economy did suffer.
“Of course, a better economy means more work. And this is all being achieved without any risks; people can rest assured that the government is taking care of everything... and that debt is falling with this government.”
In conclusion, Scicluna mentioned the €3 billion public debt, which had been borrowed by the Nationalist government over previous legislatures, but this government refuses to create more debt and he has ensured sensibility when costing this year’s budget.