The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

‘We are importing slavery’, Adrian Delia says

Saturday, 26 October 2019, 11:59 Last update: about 22 days ago

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said today that the government continues to focus on population increase as the only means via which the economy could grow.

“We are importing slavery”, he said during an interview on the PN’s radio station, insisting that this is having a negative effect on conditions of work while at the same time making it even harder for young couples to form a family.

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It has been established that 28% of the workforce is made up of foreign workers, and this “importation of precarious work” is leading to a growing demand for property which, in turn, is making it next to impossible for the Maltese to find properties to buy or rent.

The price of property has increased by 25% in one year, whereas salaries have gone up by less than 2%. Apartments that used to be rented out at €250 a month are now being rented out at more than €600. Banks are unwilling to support young couples seeking loans to buy property, but now these young couples are also unable to afford renting a flat, Delia said.

He said that more investment is needed in education – we have moved from a Nationalist administration which built a new school every year to a Labour government which is providing containers where classes are held.

Malta has the worst record when it comes to early school-leavers, and this is leading to a situation where workers do not have the necessary education and skills to compete for the better jobs. Delia insisted on the need to have “upskilling and reskilling” to enable workers to further their studies even when they have a job so that they will be able to progress in their career and keep up with the fast changes taking place.

The PN, in government, had built new economic sectors – such as financial services, igaming, aviation and the pharmaceutical industry – based on a solid legal base coupled with the country’s good reputation. But over the past years Malta’s reputation has gone from bad to worse, Delia said. Instead of punishing whoever did wrong and tarnished the country’s image, the Prime Minister kept them close to him and gave them more power.

The Finance Minister, Delia added, has the duty to see that the country’s money is well-spent, and yet contracts such as those with VGH for the running of three public hospitals continue to take millions of euros away from the Maltese coffers.

Turning to speak on migration issues, Delia said the government is not doing its duty within the EU structures to see that borders are protected. Malta cannot remain on its own in dealing with day-to-day issues concerning migrants on boats. The PN is all for saving people’s lives but at the same time those migrants who are found not to satisfy criteria to be given asylum status should be sent back, Delia said.

He said Europe should invest further in Africa. Unless this is done, more and more migrants would attempt to cross over to Europe, he said.

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