“Opposition at diametrically opposite end of economic experts” – PM

With every day that passes, economic experts keep saying the opposite to what the Opposition says.  

While the PN says that the Government’s forecast does not make sense, the European Commission’s updated estimates confirm the same improvement estimated by Government.

While the Opposition says that we have the biggest recession in forty years, European Commission economists are predicting that next year the Maltese economy will have the highest growth rate among all EU countries.  

While the Opposition predicted failure, European Commission experts have revised upwards their forecasts for Malta’s economy, while lowering the forecast for other countries. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela made this observation as he was speaking in Parliament on Monday during a debate on the 2022 Budget allocation for the Office of the Prime Minister. 

The Prime Minister said that according to the Opposition, this debate should not have taken place, as it had predicted that the country would by now be in the midst of an election campaign.  

While the Opposition predicted failure, European Commission experts have revised upwards their forecasts for Malta’s economy.

The Prime Minister noted that a number of Budget measures have already been implemented, such as the record incentives on the sale of electric vehicles and the tax exemption on UCA properties.  

Prime Minister Abela said that major decisions are taken every week to sustain the recovery from the pandemic. He referred to last week’s decision to reduce fuel tax to cover the sharp rise in international prices.  

Noting Scope Rating’s recent report which placed Malta’s economy among the strongest in the world, at par with Japan and Switzerland, PM Abela said that a key factor was the “large-scale foreign direct investment”. This, he added, is a completely different picture than the one presented by the Opposition.  

“Only the opposition believes that everything is wrong. That the end is near. It spreads negative vibes to stifle progress and wealth. It predicts the end of Malta’s economic machine created by this government, but time and again we present facts showing that this machine will not stop creating wealth.” 

He announced that so far this year, the Malta Gaming Authority received more applications for new licenses than it received in 2020. This confirms that more companies are choosing to invest in Malta, unlike what the Opposition tries to imply.

72,000 already took the COVID booster shot

Turning on to the pandemic, the Prime Minister appealed for those who receive the appointment to take the COVID booster shot, to accept this appointment. He informed the House that until now, more than 72,000 people have taken the booster jab. 

He said that so far, the low number of hospitalisations has made it possible for health authorities not to introduce new restrictions, unlike in other European countries. However, he added that Malta’s recovery depends on each and every one of us and therefore we must act responsibly. 

Migration remains a major challenge

Prime Minister Abela said nowadays we hear less about migration on the news, thanks to timely decisions taken by the Government. However, this remains a major challenge.  

“Not a day goes by without us having to take decisions about this challenge. We have always been honest with the people. Today, we come before you with facts and results”, said the Prime Minister. 

He noted that the number of irregular migrants reaching our shores has been going down constantly, and this year we saw the lowest number of arrivals in the past 20 years.  

He explained that the Government’s first objective is to convince Member States to share the responsibility through the relocation of migrants from Malta, and, he added, this year we have seen hundreds of people relocated to other European countries.

The second objective, which is more complicated is the return of migrants who do not qualify for asylum, to their country of origin.  

 “This does not mean that we will not see migrant arrivals in the future, or that we did not face moments of pressure which placed burden on us. But the Maltese people could rest assured that while the government honoured its international obligations, it acted in a proactive manner and never opted for the easy way out.” 

The Prime Minister said that Malta will continue to support Libya’s process towards peace and prosperity. A massage he emphasised during last week’s conference in Paris.  

“The budget we have presented is focused on the future. A future for which every Maltese and Gozitan has a contribution to make. This is a country that cannot lose the talent of anyone. We want a Malta for our children, that does not stop dreaming and reforming. A Malta that makes these dreams come true,” said the Prime Minister. 

He added that, “in the coming days we will continue to show our will for a fairer society. Our will for change, where we discuss and improve things. Where we build on principles, since unlike the opposition, our politics is based on conviction and ambition, not convenience.”

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