The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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Budget will target welfare dependence; healthcare riddled with inefficiencies

Malta Independent Wednesday, 3 September 2014, 12:03 Last update: about 11 years ago

Healthcare is the primary pressure on public finance, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today during the presentation of the pre-budget document.

He spoke about the cost of medicines, and other medical services, as well as certain issues with the university and schools resulting in certain expenses which were not in estimation. He mentioned that the healthcare system sees many inefficiencies which need to be addressed.

The budget will see government maintain its growth oriented strategy for 2015, and will ensure fiscal sustainability and strengthen competitiveness.

The target for the deficit is still 2.1% he explained.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna today launched the pre-budget document, which will serve for consultation with interested stakeholders and the public prior to the presentation of the budget in Parliament. the document is called creating opportunities not dependence". 

He mentioned that this monthr, the Minister will hold around five meetings open to the public to give their views and ideas.

He discussed the increasing number of public sector employees, arguing that it had not increased when looking at it proportionally with the increase in the labour force.

The Minister spoke about the welfare state, adding that it costs over a billion euros annually.  He mentioned that the tax payer pays for medicines, and social benefits of the unemployed and argued that incentives to help bring these people into the work force will be made. When asked whether any incentives were currently being discussed, he said that this information is not yet available. He assured the public that no welfare cuts will be made.

Professor Scicluna does not want to see new graduates out of work, thus the need to create more incentives.

Professor Scicluna expressed concern at the low rate of inflation that could result in pressure for wage cuts. Regardless, economic growth was within previous projections.

Taking into consideration revenue and expenditure, the Minister explained that currently, expenditure stands at around €47 million more than revenue gained by the government. However this does not take into consideration €41.1 million in taxes expected to be received from Enemalta following the deal with Shanghai Electric, thus resulting in a €5.6 million differentiation. “This is not a disaster for our deficit,” he said.

The Minister also mentioned certain talks he is holding with the medical insurance sector, to see how the government can gain some money and reform this sector.


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