A vision to get the future right

The time is nigh for the Nationalist Party to seek someone who is better fitted to the role of Leader of the Opposition.

The Chamber of Commerce has published its Economic Vision 2024. This publication featured a contribution by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The contrast between the two could not be starker.

The Prime Minister titled his piece ‘A vision to get the future right’. In it he detailed how last year was another challenging year for the global economy, with growth faltering as the effects of the energy price shock weighed heavily on consumers and firms, and the latter were also hit hard by a sharp increase in interest rates.

By contrast, in Malta both energy prices and interest rates remained stable/ This meant that households and firms could continue to consume and invest, leading to the country’s economic growth soaring to top place in Europe.

The Prime Minister recognised that some question the sustainability of keeping energy prices stable. He stated that the same reasoning was adopted when Government discussed the introduction of free childcare, when it raised the minimum wage, and when the wage supplement scheme was introduced. History shows that measures that were introduced were always maintained.

He pointed out that it is not true that Government does not have an exit strategy on energy support. In fact, there is a strategy to lower the production cost. This is being done thanks to an expansion of supply, through projects such as the second interconnector, the waste-to-energy plant, and renewable energy generation facilities offshore or abroad.

Moreover, this investment is not just being made to reduce the need of subsidies but is an integral part of Government’s vision to achieve climate neutrality in a just way. The increase in clean power generation is needed to enable the electrification of our society. Here, the Prime Minister noted key initiatives like the shore-to ship projects and the electrifying of the public transport and public sector fleets.

The Prime Minister noted that the unprecedented EU funds we have at our disposal, combined with local funds, will be used to bring about a wholesale transformation of the way many sectors operate. Primary amongst these is construction, where Government wants a radical change in the materials utilised, the machinery that is operated, and the energy efficiency of dwellings and offices.

Government’s industrial policy is focusing on making Malta a leader in digital transformation. The key initiatives here are the investments that are being supported in advanced chips and semiconductors. At the same time, the Prime Minister mentioned the strategy to upskill and reskill Malta’s workforce, with policies such as the reforms of the stipends system, the tripling of the allocation on education and the devotion of more resources to retaining talent.

He concluded by saying that Government’s vision involves more investment, better incentives, and stronger capacity building, all meant to help us get the future right.

No direction, no vision

In contrast, half of the Opposition leader’s piece was devoted to a discussion of the electoral targets for the year, and his duty to field the right candidates. The rest was the usual half-baked narrative on the need to not focus on numbers but on removing modern day slavery. He advocated the creation of new economic pillars such as AI, e-sports, and robotics – all of which are well established in Malta and are anything but new. All this interspersed with cheap political attacks such as that the Labour Party has a “socialist” mentality through which the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

The only right thing in Bernard Grech’s contribution was its conclusion: “let’s keep looking and moving ahead”. This is exactly what the Nationalist Party needs to do, as Bernard Grech has turned out to be yet another failed experiment in political direction and vision.

The time is nigh for the Nationalist Party to seek someone that is better fitted to the role of Leader of the Opposition.

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