The Malta Independent 1 October 2023, Sunday
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NGOs need to be given a stronger voice in decision making processes – Bernard Grech

Semira Abbas Shalan Sunday, 28 May 2023, 12:26 Last update: about 5 months ago

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that NGOs need to be given a stronger voice in decision making processes with government, to avoid sacrificing people's quality of life and to create a balance with regards to the national interest for development and economic growth in the country.

Grech spoke in an interview with party media on Sunday, saying that it is today's reality that both parents need to maintain a job in the family to be able to catch up with increasing prices and higher cost of living.

He said that some individuals even need to hold two jobs to be able to manage with the higher cost of living. Grech said that basic amenities are not the only things which are getting more expensive, but also medicine and property.

"To do nothing is not an option. The PN is determined, and has devised a fiscal economic plan to allocate a €40 million fund for exportation and importation costs, to tackle the higher cost of living at the source," he said.

Grech continued that Prime Minister Robert Abela and his government are not only failing to take action, but are also taxing the COLA increase given to citizens to address the higher cost of living.

"If that increase is for people to manage the higher cost of living, then government should not be taxing that increase," Grech said.

He said that the two parties, the PL and PN are not the same, as government keeps taking from the people, whilst the PN is focused as a team to address the problems.

Grech spoke about Saturday's national protest in Valletta, where NGOs together with Labour Mayors and residents, protested against the country's overdevelopment and planning issues.

"Citizens have the right to live well and enjoy a good quality of life. This is being bombarded with out-of-control development, traffic, and a government full of corruption that is not thinking about people's difficulties. Yesterday's protest was against those who pig out," Grech said.

He continued that NGOs are part of the solution, and not the problem. The PN has not only remained with the people, but have also consulted with the NGOs to continue joining forces, Grech said.

"The PN is not in the pockets of developers, we are not leading a politics based on increasing numbers," he said.

Grech mentioned the PN's pledge for creating 10 new economic sectors which do not degrade the environment, quality and added value of the country. He mentioned that we should not resort to cheap labour and exploiting foreign workers.

Grech said that government is not improving its policies, due to a stagnation in ideas.

"We need to keep working for the people, and putting them at the centre. The PN is interested in whether the individual is managing to lead a comfortable and dignified life," he said.

Grech also said that health and environment are the main pillars, and that there should be more investment in both, especially in programmes and initiatives for those affected by mental health problems.


"When we want to relax, we do not go near cranes and concrete, but we want more open spaces, and better rural and urban environments," Grech said.

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