The Malta Independent 16 August 2022, Tuesday

Energy matters

Clint Camilleri Sunday, 23 March 2014, 09:00 Last update: about 9 years ago

In the light of the strategic measures taken by the current administration, and in view of the ever-changing geopolitical state of affairs, the energy sector remains one of the top priorities for this government. As a matter of fact, just prior to the last election much of the political bickering between the parties was over the past and future challenges of servicing the local economy’s energy needs.

At an early stage in this legislature, the government successfully indicated that the energy strategy was on track towards a more sustainable energy mix that ensures price reductions while at the same time ensuring sustainable measures that reduce emissions: a two-pronged strategy that effectively impinges on the macro economic imbalances and also diversifies our energy needs to different markets.

During the last few months, the credit rating agencies have signalled this positive attitude from the government as a sign that at last the haemorrhage from the state energy provider is being addressed. In fact, the state of affairs of state-owned companies was significantly contributing to people’s negative attitude towards the government.

The injection of capital into Enemalta Corporation by a state-owned Chinese energy company will effectively help improve efficiency, reduce the company’s debt obligations and offer collaboration opportunities between the two entities. In fact, Malta has already been mentioned as a possible energy hub in the Mediterranean.

As from this month, the utility bills for consumers will be reduced dramatically. This electoral pledge is being materialised to alleviate consumer’s energy bills that were increased by the previous administration. The sensitivity of increasing utility bills was unaccounted for by the previous government in view also of the oil buying procurement scandal.

Negative energies and hidden agendas were probably the main contributors of utility price increases in the past. The previous government’s economic stance on was to simply pass these inefficiencies on to the consumers. Increasing cost pressures were added to the producer’s cost curves and the nations’ competitiveness was at stake.

In investment terms, and in a globalised market where companies merge and form alliances, the Maltese government has succeeded in allying our energy market with the world’s second largest economy.

With this association, in the years ahead Malta has the potential to become an energy hub and procure energy needs for our neighbours. Energy is at the heart of this new government. This was conveyed at the international stage at the Economist conference in Malta during this month. At this early stage in its legislature, this government has successfully placed Malta as a pre-eminent place in which to conduct business. The confidence and resilience of the economic holders was welcomed by foreign distinguished guests.

This government has the energy and mandate to fulfil its election manifesto during the remaining years. A government cannot be judged from its initial phase. Such judgement requires a number of years of the same legislature, but we can say that this government has set the ball rolling in the right direction.

Our agenda is very clear in this regard. I am sure it will take some time for this government to completely erode market inefficiencies and remove bad energies. However, early positive indications on the way forward have been set in motion. The right incentives have been put on the table, placing Malta at the top of the radar to attract the desired foreign direct investment that it requires as a nation to maintain current standards of living, whilst ensuring further growth possibilities.

Malta has the right energy mix to be successful in this regard. Decision-makers and policy-makers need to induce the right economic and financial variables and model the best package possible. As a nation we must ensure effective corporate governance structures are in place to cater to the new global paradigm changes that are in motion. Our nation’s energies need to be synchronised positively and entwined to collectively safeguard our nation’s future.

 

Clint Camilleri is a Labour Party candidate in the forthcoming European parliamentary elections

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