Monday’s Budget will show how the government has the public’s best interest at heart, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday, holding back from revealing any specific measures.
Speaking at a Labour Party event in Naxxar, Abela said it will be clear that the government’s guiding economic document has been drafted with the country’s best interest in mind.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana will deliver the first financial Budget of this legislature on Monday evening. So far, little has been said about what measures will be announced for 2023.
Branding it as “the first of five”, Abela again held back from detailing any specific measures.
He said Monday will see the first of five budgets of this legislature that would lead to the party’s political manifesto being fully implemented.
Monday’s, he said, will be yet another budget free of new taxes and will again give assistance to those most in need.
Turning back the clock to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing war in Ukraine, Abela said that there had been some who had argued that the market should be allowed to regulate itself and that the state should not intervene.
But the government was convinced that, had this happened, the strongest would have survived but the weakest in society may have been left behind.
Monday’s Budget, he said, will focus on quality of life and the sustainability of business activity.
The budget will also be proof of the government’s credibility. This, he said, is a government that delivers on its promises.
As for Abela’s political opponents, the Labour leader said the Nationalist Party had launched its pre Budget document, without having even proofread the final document.
“To launch a public document that is rife with infantile errors upon errors is proof of the Opposition’s dilettantism which is in stark contrast to this government’s competence,” he said.
In three years, he said, there had been a war, a pandemic, an energy crisis and now an economic crisis. But the government had kept social principles at the forefront of its policymaking.
Its decision to subsidise utility bills had kept countless families and businesses afloat that would have otherwise been crippled by rising costs.
Abela said that, on Monday, the finance minister would detail just how much more the average family or business would have had to pay had the government not stepped in to shoulder the cost of electricity.
He said that during his recent meetings with international leaders in the EU and other fora, he was taken aback by stories of some of Europe’s largest economies facing recessions and the need for a slowdown in industrial output.
On the other hand, a new survey found that Malta was increasingly attractive.
On Tuesday, EY’s Malta Attractiveness Index found that 58% of companies surveyed say Malta is currently attractive for business – an increase of 21 percentage points over last year's levels.
Abela said that in 2020 foreign direct investment reached the highest levels ever recorded. Then, last year, it almost doubled reaching some €500 million, excluding financial services.
Malta, Abela told applauding party supporters, has a strong economic engine and is navigating treacherous waters well.
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