The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Economic growth cannot rely solely on population increase, Adrian Delia says

Thursday, 24 October 2019, 12:16 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Nationalist Party has a vision for Malta, a vision which will see investment in education, making sure our children have the right education, study hard and work hard and ensure that they have a beautiful future ahead of them, said Adrian Delia in Parliament on Thursday morning.

Speaking during the budget estimates for the Prime Minister’s Office, Delia said the impact of climate change will not only affect Malta, but on the whole globe. Earlier this week on Tuesday, Parliament declared a climate change emergency, calling for action on the issue. “Many youths finally feel there is a sense of hope for the future.”

He said that Labour preached six years ago that it had a green environmental plan, yet six years have passed and Malta has the title of the dirty man of Europe. “Now the government announces that it has an environmental plan, yet what is the government doing to reach the EU targets on renewable energy? Now that we have declared a climate change emergency, it is the time that the government should inform the public on what forms of clean renewable energy it will be investing in.”

Delia once more reflected on a number of proposals of 2020 Budget, and said that although the government portrays itself as “a government which listens”, it refuses to listen to the critical arguments of the opposition.

“Instead of understanding our questions, questions which are the fruit of hours listening and discussing with people, the government instead puts us down and do not answer our questions.” He said that the Nationalist Party does not agree with the government which focuses on increasing economic growth through the importation of foreigners.

“The Prime Minister tries to give the impression that the economic growth is not coming from the importation of foreigner workers,” said Delia, as he quote the Central Bank governor and his deputy who have commented that Malta is experiencing a strong influx of foreign workers. “The Prime Minister says that the people coming to Malta are from the European Union, but there is a large portion of these workers who come from third country nations.”

“How many more people are we bringing to Malta? And what type of people are they? We are allowing foreigners to buy a citizenship, but will they be investing in Malta or are they simply buying a citizenship and vote?” asked Delia. “It is not about the vote, but I am speaking about the ignorance and arrogance of the government and country which allows the sale of citizenship.”

Delia said that the Prime Minister has the wrong impression about poverty, because the number of Maltese and Gozitans at risk of poverty has increased. “We are speaking about people, not numbers, people who wake up in the morning and do not think about the economy or growth in GPD, but think about how they will survive another month and how their children will be able to grow up into decent people.”

He said that the Nationalist Party is ready to speak to each and every one of these families, to see what can be done and how to teach these people to know their worth. “A serious government does not say that the ‘cheques will continue’, but will invest in education and reduce poverty,” said Delia.

Turning to speak on the riot at the Hal Far migrant open centre a few days ago, Delia expressed his concern about the safety of people who work there. “Does the government have enough resources to protect those who work there and the residents who live there?”

He said that the government refused to answer the Opposition’s questions regarding detention and open centres, questions regarding how many people live in these centres and how many people are waiting for asylum in Malta. “This Prime Minister has this information, why did he not answer these questions?”

“Why is our government not providing integration and safety? Why is it that it is only now, after a riot, that the government push for better working conditions of the staff?”

Delia explained that the Nationalist Party’s position on immigration is to be humane, and that life comes first and provide justice to those who need to process asylum and to be strong and fight against those who abuse our country.

In his reply, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat focused on the work that is being carried out by the public service, mentioning in particular the service being offered via the 153 telephone service, which receives some 2,000 calls a month. These are people who seek information and help, and the people listening in offer advice and point them in the right direction.

The e-government service, the PM said, is a top performer among similar services offered across Europe.



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