Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo on Monday was unable to say in parliament how much was spent on the Malta Film Awards or whether the outlay had exceeded €1million or €2m.

He said, however, that the data was being compiled and would be tabled in full once it was available. Bartolo was replying to questions by Nationalist MPs Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia and Karl Gouder.

He pointed out that in 2012, under the Nationalist government, Malta spent €1.1 million on the European Film Awards, twice what was originally budgeted, exhausting government funding for the sector.

Under the PN, he said, the Rinella film tanks were earmarked for use by fish farms and the land held by the Malta Film Facilities was being handed to the private sector.

Azzopardi asked if British comedian David Walliams was paid €200,000 for his appearance. He also asked how the minister could look people in the eye, amid the fast-rising cost of living, while so much was spent on the film awards and he approved direct orders from a supplier who also worked for the Labour Party.

Bartolo said the Opposition was seeking to attack an industry that was reaping results or the economy. He said that over the past few years the sector saw a turnaround, employing 2000 and generating €98 million in the economy during the pandemic up to last December.

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