The Nationalist Party has proposed a plan to curb "excessive" population growth, which includes a skills database, restricted work permits and a mandatory course in the Maltese language for foreign workers.

Leader Bernard Grech said the population cannot continue growing to the detriment of the people, as he set out the party's eight-pronged economic vision.

He said the party wanted economic renewal and "a vision of excellence and not mass production and abuse”.

It would give value to high-quality jobs and not depend excessively on third-country workers, he said.

Grech added that a PN government will invest in people and industry, sustain local thought and talent, as well as innovation.

It would give maximum attention to education and health, put clean energy at the forefront of the environmental agenda and safeguard democracy. 

Shadow employment minister Ivan Castillo said a proposed database would help assess what jobs were needed so that work permits would only be issued where necessary. 

Workers would also need to be qualified before they arrived in Malta, he said. 

As well as having the ability to communicate in English, they would also have to have some knowledge about Malta and sit for a basic course in Maltese before their permit is renewed.

Economic recipe

Shadow finance minister Jerome Caruana Cilia said the country’s "economic recipe" needs to change.

He said the government lacked a plan to curb the increases in its recurrent expenditure and its inflation rate was at a 35-year high.

In the past seven months, Maltese workers were also seeing a higher cost of living than their counterparts in the rest of the EU, he said.

He noted that the PN had already proposed tax incentives on the Cost of Living Allowance and a national fund to help the import and export industry.

Caruana Cilia said the PN would increase productivity levels and investment in research and innovation.

An eight-pronged economic vision

Shadow economy minister Ivan Bartolo and employment spokesperson Ivan Castillo said the PN was proposing a strategy based on eight main points:

  • The first was business continuity to offer both people and businesses peace of mind. So where there was change, this would not be done overnight but in a process.
  • The second pillar was Brand Malta where people could do business without problems, in an atmosphere of integrity.
  • Another point was start-ups, including a scheme that attracted strategic investment. 
  • The fourth pillar was stakeholder engagement, with the government taking on the role of a facilitator, pathfinder and bridge builder.
  • It would also analyse existing economic niches, such as the gaming and pharmaceutical industries, to see how these could be given a new lease of life.
  • There was also a need for new economic niches.
  • Marketing was another pillar highlighting the country’s unique selling propositions to become a hub of excellence.
  • Finally, there would be a continuous assessment of skills and participation, including the creation of a database that would help and inform stakeholders of the country’s needs and availabilities.

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