Malta’s problem is the government itself, led by Lawrence Gonzi, who leads an unstable government which is more intent in the partisan electoral interests than in taking decisive measures for the national interest, Labour MP Charles Mangion, party spokesman for economic development and financial services, said.
What families are feeling is very different from the picture the Prime Minister is trying to convey in his speeches, Dr Mangion said. In spite of the boasts by GonziPN, international trade statistics which have just been published reflect the weakening purchasing power in Malta and that the main engine of economic growth, exports, is threatened with the wrong decisions being taken by the government itself with the unexplained increases in fuel, energy and gas prices.
The latest international trade figures confirm these realities, Dr Mangion said.
There has been a 9% drop in imports for consumption, leading to a drop in the wholesale trade; a drop of almost 44% in February in imports of capital goods, confirming a reduction in productive investment; and a drop of 31% in February in imports of industrial products, showing a slower rhythm of industrial production.
And as in the last year, the increase in exports in the first two months this year lay in products which Malta does not produce, which is the export of oils, which in the same period this year have gone up by €200 million. In the same period, the exports of pharmaceuticals, machinery and semi-manufactured goods, which have much more value added, have declined somewhat.
All these details were ignored by the Prime Minister in the news conference he gave about the last year of his government, Dr Mangion said.
The Labour Party understands that while Malta has little or no influence on the international scene, it is still the government’s duty to protect families and the country’s competitiveness.
The government should show that is has a plan about how it anticipates the prices of fuel, gas and energy, and give a clear explanation on what basis these are going up each month.
It should help the construction industry, with a clear and easy interpretation of the foreign residents scheme, which today lies in shambles with no one able to conclude anything.
The government cannot allow the uncertainty and instability in the country to worsen, with parliament in a moribund state and the government not knowing if it can implement its own measures announced in Budget 2012.
Dr Mangion said the government should use regulatory tools efficiently and not be itself the cause of inflation, leading to a drop in competitiveness and a weakening of purchasing power. And the government needs seriously to reduce bureaucracy, not create structures which make it worse.