Fi­nance Min­is­ter ex­pects sur­plus year’s end, la­bels PN’s pre-bud­get doc­u­ment as ‘neg­a­tive’

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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