The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

PN lists 10 proposals on post-Covid-19 recovery strategy

Karl Azzopardi Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 18:57 Last update: about 9 days ago

The Nationalist Party has listed ten proposals for economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia also outlined the PN's opinion on the government measures and what needs to be done to improve them.

Delia said that he is disappointed with the fact that Prime Minister Robert Abela seems to be celebrating as if the Covid-19 situation has been eradicated when he said that there is no possibility for a second wave and that "waves can only be found at sea."

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He explained that this has caused a lot of uncertainty and while this feeling does not go away with fear, it does not go away with false hope either. "It's not about thinking that there are no waves but being able to overcome them," Delia said.

Delia said he believes that we have to overcome uncertainty through planning, leadership and understanding what went wrong so it does not happen again. But this cannot be achieved alone as we are all in this pandemic together.

"No government is able to get a country out of this situation alone, we have to do this together, we cannot be populist and pull the same rope in order to take decisions that citizens benefit from it," he said.

For this reason, the PN has proposed a parliamentary task force to be set up so that the government and the opposition can work together in overcoming the challenges that this crisis brought about.

From an economic perspective, the PN believes that any future measures need to be built on 10 defining pillars, which shadow economy minister Claudio Grech outlined:

1. Short-term relief; providing targeted, temporary and timely relief to all enterprises that have been materially impacted. This requires specific requirements for targeted industries as there cannot be a one-size-fits-all framework.

2. Instilling confidence; PN believes that confidence is the raw material for economic activity, thus, it is important to reduce uncertainty by setting out a clear time-lined plan of decisions to instil investor confidence. Additionally, enterprises should be enabled to plan the restructuring of their economic activity and its alignment to the social distancing regime.

3. Strengthening the relationship between health and the economy; the PN does not believe in finding a balance between health and economy, rather the economy needs to be built on the value of health. This can be achieved through a de-risking programme that avoids a false sense of security as the virus and its risks have not changed.

4. An economic transformation; this is the time to fix what is broken in our economic model and pave the path for an economic transformation and shared economic vision. This involves stamping out the economics of senseless consumption, development at all costs and zero-sum activities which pit progress against people.

5. A new social pact; a new social pact needs to be curated between constituted bodies, social partners, civil society and both political parties through a united platform that elevates sustainability, quality of life and social mobility to the highest level of economic priorities.

6. An indigenous private sector; a private sector that is complementary and not in competition with public healthcare services.

7. Innovative and comprehensive investment aid programmes; support must be given to those enterprises committed to reform and transformation, one built on the wider basis of strategic properties.

8. Spearheading local ecosystems; here they are referring to the application of targeted government procurement to serves as a jumpstart for the functioning of the ecosystems in a post-Covid scenario.

9. Prioritising public spending; the expenses that the government takes from public funds should not be used discretely but it should be used to better enterprises and strengthen the country's infrastructure

10. EU Recovery Fund and MFF; PN believes that the EU Recovery Fund must be places as a primary funding vehicle for recovery and transformation while it can also be proposed to be added to the long-term Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).

He concluded by saying that the PN has 25 proposals based on these pillars which are ready to be released during the coming weeks.

 

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