Opposition leader Simon Busuttil accused the government of inefficiency and bad governance when he spoke in Parliament this evening during the debate on the Bill to implement the Budget measures.
Dr Busuttil said the Budget speech was the longest ever, and yet it hid a long list of taxes, including an increase in the cost of more than 400 government services.
This, he said, was the price the people had to pay for the government’s ‘stinking deals’ and its 'obscene appointments'.
The increased costs of government services were taxes which the people could not avoid since in many cases, essential services were hit.
For example, people whose passport expired between April and August would pay €30 more for its renewal.
The people were being taxed from the womb to the tomb which even the cost for a birth, marriage and death certificates having gone up.
An example of the government’s incompetence was how the government in the Budget speech said that those who sold products or services up to €7,000 over and above their normal income needed to be VAT registered. This was a huge increase in beurocracy.
The government was also taxing exports such as fish produced in fish farms, and locally produced wine.
Yet under this government, no new exporting manufacturing industries had been set up.
While motorists continued to pay high fuel prices and waste that fuel in traffic jams, this government was even charging higher duties on tyres, licences and insurance.
And then, to add insult to injury, bus fares were also going up. From July 1 the €1.50 day ticket – 50c for the elderly - would no longer apply and commuters would pay for every trip.
The Budget had also seen increased in taxes on mobile phone services, cement and the use of cranes.
The government had also changed the tax regime on property in the Budget.
But apart from the Budget, the government which claimed to help the needy had raised rents on social housing. He knew of a case where rent went up from €45 to €200. This was a tax on poverty.
The government boasted of having raised stipends, by a few cents, then exam fees were raised astronomically.
And then the people got a cost of living increase of just 58 cents, the lowest since the wage freeze, in stark contrast to what the government’s chosen few were getting through their appointments such as Cyrus Engerer with a package of €85,000 despite a court conviction.
The people were also being made to pay for the shady deals such as that with Azerbaijan which cost the country €14 million, apart from the €4.2 million given in the Cafe Premier scandal.
The people were also paying for a power station which did not exist despite the prime minister’s promise to step down if it did not come about.
Dr Busuttil said that in order to bring about reduced bureaucracy and reduced taxation, the Opposition was proposing the setting up of a working group made up of business organisations and trade unions to study the impact of the increases in administrative tariffs, with no increase being made without consultation and proper study
Secondly, the opposition was proposing a reduction of tariffs on government services which were offered through the e-government service.
Thirdly, the government should set targets so that services involving payments or the collection of data from the people or business could be given through the e-government service.
Concluding, Dr Busuttil said the Opposition would vote against this bill because it would raise taxes to pay for the government’s waste and inefficiency.
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