The Malta Independent 3 December 2016, Saturday

Three Nationalist ministers involved in €125,000 deal

Noel Grima Sunday, 17 January 2016, 11:44 Last update: about 12 months ago

Details will soon be revealed which show that three members of the past PN administration were engaged in a €125,000 deal together.

This was claimed by Minister Chris Cardona who was speaking at a PL meeting in Rabat today.

Dr Cardona heaped irony on former minister Tonio Fenech who, it has been reported, bought a car originally valued at €25,000 for just €2,000 a few days before the election and later tried to sell it for €7,000.

It was clear throughout the meeting that notice has been taken of the MaltaToday survey which showed still slipping support for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat but that support for PN leader Simon Busuttil has not risen at all.

Dr Muscat, the main speaker at the Rabat meeting, said that one would expect at this point in mid-legislature that the government would be tired and doling out to people the worst bits of the legislature. Instead, this government is not tired at all and the second half of the legislature will be even better, Dr Muscat said.

He admitted this government has made mistakes but said that 'the others' are worse. Those who voted Labour do not expect anything better from PN even when they are angry at the PL government.

The PN has lost the people's trust and cannot get up from the mud, Dr Muscat said.

Dr Muscat urged his administration and Labour supporters to look forwards with determination, rather than do as the PN used to do in its 25 years of administration and deny that any problems exist.

Enemalta

He then spoke about what his administartion has been doing to Enemalta.

The day after the election, Minister Konrad Mizzi told him he had been informed that Enemalta's debt was not €800 million, as expected, but €1,000 million. The corporation had borrowed money from Maltese and foreign banks and the latter were clamouring for their money. Besides, Enemalta owed the government some €100 million in taxes it had not passed on to the government. The only advice the former administration was being given was to push up electricity ratwes by some 30%, rather than putting them down as PL was saying.

This was a challenge, but it was also an opportunity, Dr Muscat said. In one year, the wituation was completely reversed. No one lost his job, huge investment was brought in and the electricity rates were brought down as promised. 

Had Enemalta gone under it would have pulled down the banks as well and Maltese investors would have lost their money. This would have been a real bailout. Simon Busuttil, who was the Deputy Prime Minister at the time, must have known of this situation. So too Tonio Fenech, the minister who was ready to sell Enemalta for €1 and bought his car for €2,000. On the contrary, last week, Enemalta unveiled its €80 million investment in Montenegro whose profits will be brought to Malta.

The present administration has turned challenges into opportunities. It has increased the number of women working through extending childcare facilities where previously people used to spend some €4000 a year on childcare. They now get it for free.

Another key success of this government has been in health. Where previously there would be some 160 medicines out of stocik, there arwe now none.

The next big challenge is Air Malta. The airline has a huge potential but was allowed to sink. It will remain strong and in a short time it will begin to expand once again. Dr Muscat thanked Air Malta chairman Maria Micallef and former President George Abela who accepted his invitation to help in the process.

The economy and waterpolo

Three months ago the Opposition used to say that the economy was not doing well at all, that the low unemployment figures the government was coming out with were false because peoople were being struck off the register or jobs were increasing because of increased government employment. This was implying that Eurostat figures were twisted. Now the Opposition has started saying the economy was doing well but it was all due to them.

Last week, while on a visit to the Balkans for the Enemalta signing, he went to see the Maltese team playing in Serbia and the PN came out with a statement he should have been ashamed to go because his government had not helped ASA. He asked ASA whether this was tgrue and they told him that on the contrary the government had given them all they had requested.

It is true there are still people who live in poverty and people who have been long out of a job.

Labour has to work harder to raise these people up and to create a new middle class.

As an example of what the government has been doing, Dr Muscat focused on people with disability. There was a 1968 law which had not been put in practice. In previous years some 50 to 60 persons with disability used to find a job in a year. Now following this government's action, the number has risen to 400 a year. The employers had some issues in this regard and he is meeting their representatives to iron out some issues.

In his speech, Minister Chris Cardona said Simon Busuttil used to forecast that Malta under Labour would collapse and need a bailout. Now, speaking to UHM he has said the economy is strong and doing well. Last week, the government met the Chamber of Commerce and those who spoke complained the government is doing too much.

This government has allocated an area big as 25 football grounds to open more factories. 21 projects have already started and a further 18 are about to begin whereas in PN's time just 5 opened

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