The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

Muscat promises tax cuts, improved pensions, resurfacing of all roads

Gabriel Schembri Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 09:31 Last update: about 5 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this morning kicked off the list of electoral promises by pledging that a Labour government will cut taxes, improve pensions and embellish all the roads in Malta and Gozo.

Addressing a press conference this morning, Dr Muscat, accompanied by the Ministers of Finance, the Economy and the Deputy Prime Minister, announced that heading the PL manifesto, will be five main priorities.

The first priority is related to tax cuts. Dr Muscat explained that a PL government will be adding disposable income for families and increase stimulus for businesses. "We will be giving surplus back to the public. That is why we are announcing today a tax refund for more than 190,000 workers."

He said that these tax refunds can vary from a minimum of €200 and can go up to €340 per year. This initiative will cost €46.5 million. Workers who earn up to €60,000 will be eligible. Tax on part-time work will be reduced from 15% to 10 % and this will also apply to the self-employed. This measure will cost €3.8 million and is expected to affect 28,000 people.

Dr Muscat said students who obtain a masters degree or PHD will be exempt from income tax for one year. The exemption goes up to two years for those who obtain a PhD.

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He said pensions would be gradually raised to €8 per week to coincide with the amount added to the national minimum wage.

Dr Muscat also announced that a Labour government would carry out the biggest infrastructural investment in Malta, that of €700 million project to resurface all of Malta's roads. The project will be funded by the EU and national funds including funds from the Citizenship by Investment programme.

Dr Muscat also announced that public holidays which fall on weekends will again be given as public holidays. He said that through discussions with stakeholders, the government will consider to either add leave days to employees or introduce the concept of bank holidays. Dr Muscat said that this initiative will give back four or five days off for Maltese workers in a year. 

IIP scheme to be extended

The Prime Minister said that the government always planned to gain economic stability for the first four years and now wants to use this economic momentum to give money back to the people. He said that these measures are already costed and believes that they will be sustainable through a rigorous plan.

When asked by this newspaper to explain how will such tax cuts and huge investment be financially viable, the Prime Minister said that the government intends to extend the IIP citizen scheme. He said that the government has saved up more than 70% of the money earned from the citizenship scheme. Dr Muscat explained that the scheme will eventually bring about €4 billion through investment.

Asked about the Egrant inquiry and if this would be concluded before the 3 June, the Prime Minister said that he is not even considering the inquiry for the election as he is confident that the investigation will not link him, in any way, to the company in question.

Videos and Photos: Michael Camilleri

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