The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Watch: Prime Minister says this won’t be his last budget

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 14 October 2019, 22:52 Last update: about 28 days ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat indicated today that he will be staying on for at least one more budget.

The PM was addressing a press conference shortly after the budget for next year.

When asked whether this was his last budget, Muscat answered with a very clear no, to which the ministers and MPs seated behind him gave a round of applause. "If you think we've given a lot in this one because this is the last one, see the next one," he quipped.

ADVERTISEMENT

Muscat was asked about this budget being more about managing economic growth rather than incentivising it, he said that the major change from the previous government is that the last government saw the budget as an accounting exercise, while this government sees it as a way to incentivise.

He also refuted the idea that this is a situation of government just managing, and said that the government is working the economy as it still has not reached its full potential.

He spoke about giving signals in terms of changing the economic model for the future, especially when it comes to the climate. He said that the amount of measures given in this regard are a clear indication of what is coming.

Muscat said that the government is increasing its steam and not going 'steady as she goes'. He also highlighted upcoming international issues that could have an effect on Malta, like Brexit, and spoke about preparations for this. As an example, he highlighted the work the Malta Tourism Authority is undertaking to tackle possible issues caused by Brexit.

Asked whether the millions being spent on road widening projects would only temporarily alleviate traffic congestion, and whether the government has a long-term plan to solve traffic, the PM said that the amount of cars increasing on the road remained  consistent over the past 5 years and it did not have a spike because roads widened.

He went on to say that a study by Gordon Cordina shows that the road widening is not just simply alleviating the problem, but saving time in traffic, and reducing emissions.

He spoke of the government's aim to be one of the first EU countries to offer free public transport for everyone. Another part of the plan is to have more sea connections, including from places like St Paul's Bay, Marsaxlokk and others. As many park their vehicles in Cottonera and use the ferry to Valletta, he said, even people from St Paul's Bay and other localities would be able to do the same.

These are just two parts of the plan, "but we cannot just discount the road projects as though we are simple alleviating..."

He said that road widening will not lead to more traffic and said that the government will not go towards the idea some other parts of the world have gone to, like using a lottery to be able to buy a car, for example. He said that the government wants to solve this issue through incentives.

 

Video: Michael Camilleri


  • don't miss