Manifesto with terms and conditions

The PN manifesto on the face of it looks generous. But if one reads it more than once, a worrying narrative starts to emerge. Most of its proposals come with terms and conditions.

In fact, if one follows that suggestion of Bernard Grech and searches through the PN manifesto,

  • the word ‘iżda‘ – but – appears 87 times.
  • The word ‘kriterji‘ – criteria – appears 49 times,
  • konformi‘ – in conformance with – appears 41 times.
  • suġġett‘ – subject to -, ‘jekk‘ – if -, ‘fil-każ‘ – in case -, and ‘sakemm‘ – until/unless – are used 60 times.

Just to give a practical example, there are at least 32 proposals (one in fifteen of all PN proposals) that explicitly state that to beneft from a tax cut or funds from a scheme requires that a firm is ESG compliant. Even the famous one billion fund promise includes this proviso. Only firms that are ESG certified would be eligible. Now, imagine how easy it will be for a small 3D printing firm to be complaint with non-financial reporting, so as to gain access to these funds. Most new firms find it hard enough to fill in all the financial forms required by a bank to issue a loan; imagine to have to include non-financial reporting on top of that.

It is not just firms that have to go through hoops to be able to qualify for some benefit. For instance, for unversity students to qualify for an increase in their stipend, they have to do voluntary work with a registered voluntary organisation.

At least these voluntary organisations are not being forced to become ESG-certified. This is what  nurseries will have to do to get some benefits from the PN.

However if they try to get assistance from Government to buy or to improve their property – something that now they get without any strings attached – will instead need to be ESG certified to qualify for help.
ESG certification is something that is required of large firms in Europe. But the PN wants even persons to be ESG-certified. In fact, in one of their proposals they say that only when the ESG framework becomes an inegral part of our fiscal system, will persons get a tax cut.
This is not just a case of being promised something that might never materialise. With the PN proposals one could even lose benefits they have up to now. Right now there is a tax credit of
100 that one gets in respect of the attendance of extra-curricular activities. With the PN, the tax credit is only available for activities that are run by associations that are ESG-certified.

These are just a few examples of PN proposals with terms and conditions. With the PN there are no guarantees except of having to work hard with no guarantee of getting aything in return.

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