The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Malta’s rise in cost of living is due to the pandemic and Brexit – Clyde Caruana

Shona Berger Wednesday, 25 August 2021, 15:10 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit have led to a rise in the cost of living in Malta, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told the press on Wednesday. 

Following a press conference, Minister Caruana answered questions posed by journalists regarding the cost of living in Malta as well as issues related to Air Malta. 

Minister Caruana explained that the rise in the cost of living is primarily due to two factors. These include the disruption that was brought about by the pandemic as well as Brexit which led to an inflation issue. 

“The disruption brought about the pandemic is a temporary factor,” Caruana highlighted. 

He further explained that considering “we are a country which imports several goods from the UK, Brexit also gave rise to duty issues, thus automatically increasing prices.” 

Caruana highlighted that these two major factors cannot be ignored. 

“If one thinks that they can be ignored, set aside or believe that they are not the reasons as to why Malta is experiencing certain increases in prices, I think that that person would be doing a disservice and showing a lack of maturity as well as intelligence in the subject,” Caruana said. 

Asked on what the government plans on doing to address the rise in the cost of living, Caruana did not give a clear plan, saying that he would be making fun of people if he simply said that certain things that are happening around the world can be easily addressed or fixed.

“People who talk in that way and make it seem that things can be fixed as easily as saying ‘listen, these are problems that we can do something about them’ are only acting in such a manner to play to the gallery,” Caruana said. 

He added that he has always been factual when it came to answering questions. 

“Problems that are on a global level such as the disruption in world supply caused by the pandemic, cannot be easily fixed. 

Another example is that related to the steel industry. On a global level, construction was once put to a halt due to the pandemic. Since then, this has recovered and there is not enough steel to meet the demand. How can I, as a Minister within the Maltese government, solve such a problem?”, Caruana said.

He insisted that these are issues brought about the pandemic, thus they are temporary. 

Caruana also highlighted that eventually they will be addressed as soon possible, but one must understand that certain issues need time for them to be resolved. 

Asked on how the government will ensure Air Malta’s operations remain active until the end of the year, Caruana explained that he is in discussions with respective unions who represent workers within the company. 

Discussions with the European Commission on the airline’s request for state aid are still on going. 

Prior to Santa Marija weekend, the government sent painstakingly detailed data and information, as requested by the EC, Caruana said. 

The EC had requested detailed information, including data on all daily flights, passenger numbers and all expenses the airline is incurring. 

“I can assure you that I am looking forward to the commission’s response on the matter, with the hope of being given state aid for the company. I am doing my best to help everyone as best I can,” Caruana said.

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