The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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The next budget

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 2 October 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 10 months ago

With the next budget for the year 2024, a big statutory increase in the wages of workers and employees will be implemented. Quite likely, by way of magnitude, it will be unprecedented. For the government as well as for the private sector this will mean a substantial increase in the bill for wages. The government will surely not collapse under the added burden. Its revenues from taxes will also be increasing heftily. Still this time round, a clear signal will need to be given regarding how and where brakes on expenditures are going to be applied.

I doubt whether brakes can be or should be applied to public investments. For the current year, with the exception of investments that were going to be co-financed with the EU, public investment projects were cancelled. It seems that this affected mostly projects in the health and education sectors.

Meanwhile, indications continued to emerge regarding how public expenditures, not least for capital investment, are riddled with a waste of funds and resources. Perhaps a priority for the next budget would be an effort to ensure that the frittering away of resources in the management of government projects should be strictly controlled. Also, needed investment projects should be launched and implemented independently of whether they are to be co-financed by the EU or not.  

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RENTS

Rents for houses and apartments in Malta (and Gozo) have been increasing at a fast pace in recent years. The days when, not so long ago, Maltese citizens here were paying much much less than the almost one quarter of their income that European families were dishing out as rent, are well and truly over.

As of now, many people are finding it difficult to cope with rent and cost of living increases.  Luckily they did not also have to face any steep rises in energy costs, as has happened in other European countries. The government is doing well to see how to counter the arising social problems by launching subsidy schemes and other financial support programmes. Understandable as well however is the concern of those who believe that this help is too little.

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HOW PARTIES USED TO FUNCTION

Our political parties have become too conditioned by their public broadcasting systems in the way by which they now organise activities. Perhaps I should be the last one to complain about this. In the past, I lobbied for parties to be allowed to have the possibility of launching a TV station, once they were already running their own radio station.

It is now the case that major political activities organised by a party are shown live on TV, including the plenary meetings of general conferences where supposedly, party delegates discuss among themselves the main lines of future policies. Such plenary meetings have become a TV show, with all details pre-programmed in time and according to the timetable of the relevant TV schedule.

Gone are the spontaneous inputs of delegates and their give and take in discussion. Maybe these changes have been a success as a TV show. As a political activity that should stimulate interest and enthusiasn, hardly. Delegates feel they have been given the role of an audience in some Canale Cinque programme. They even get told beforehand where they have to sit!

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