The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

Implementing our promises

Friday, 20 September 2019, 09:06 Last update: about 26 days ago

Politicians tend to speak a lot; however, the essence of effective politics is implementation. As the Prime Minister stated last Sunday, it is not only essential to provide a good budget on paper but more importantly, ensure that those written pledges become a reality.  I was glad to hear the Prime Minister publicly declare that he will be overseeing this process as he has done during the past years.

Implementation is yet another reason why this government has been one of the most accountable governments in Maltese history. Since Partit Laburista was elected to office, we have introduced a new sense of accountability and good governance. This was done through a series of reports that are published yearly which give a detailed account regarding the implementation of various initiatives or recommendations.

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Nowadays, the administration is publishing various reports on the measures implemented by the various ministries, whilst reports presented by the auditor general and the ombudsman are also addressed through another report published annually. All these decisions are another testament to the Government's respect towards the institutions and its unwavering commitment towards the rule of law.

However, the report that I consider to be the most important is the budget implementation report. When on the 14th October the Minister of Finance will read the budget for next year, our citizens know that a year after they will be provided with a detailed update on the implementation status of each and every measure. Many might ask us why we do this and my answer is always very simple. We do this because we respect the electorate that trusted us with their vote. We do this because it is the right thing to do and because we know that every government should be held accountable for its actions. We know that we are not perfect and although currently the implementation rates are very high, we are realistic enough to know that certain circumstances might make it difficult to reach a 100% implementation rate. Nevertheless, that is the target the government strives to achieve. It's an undisputable fact that this government has implemented the majority of its electoral pledges, which is far more than any other government in our history has.

For instance, one of the areas in which we have highly delivered is the social sector. During the last budget, we announced a number of new social measures and a year later, we can proudly say that these have been implemented. As a result, thousands of people are benefitting from these measures and have experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life.

I proudly remark that pensions are being increased year after year, whilst increasing increasing children's allowance and the allowance provided to persons with disability.

We are also changimg the country's infrastructure for the better. Every day, we can all witness the progress being made in the Marsa flyover project. This is yet another example of how Labour's electoral pledges are kept. One cannot fail to mention other infrastructure projects which show just how different this government is from previous ones. The Ta' Qali crafts village, which is now at a very advanced stage, is a symbol of how this government has been giving life to projects that were announced decades ago by nationalist governments yet failed to materialise.

Other initiatives mentioned in the last budget which we have successfully implemented are those within the health sector. Amongst these was the addition of medicines for cancer patients and the investment in mental health. This government is embarking on a landmark project to invest in primary healthcare centres all around the country, so as to drastically increase the services available within the community.

I am also very pleased with the investment made in My Journey, the education reform which is seeing our education system being transformed to give students the opportunity to learn vocational subjects.

All this can be done because we have delivered on one of our biggest promises: We transformed a deficit into a surplus. We have restored the country's economy and it is because of this that we can look forward to the next budget with optimism. However, we must also realize that success is not automatic so we must keep implementing change and take sustainable measures. After all, we must keep implementing our plan for Malta. A plan that was chosen by the Maltese people in 2017 and that is making our country, under the leadership of Joseph Muscat, one of the best in Europe.

Byron Camilleri is the Government Whip 

 


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