The Nationalist Party said on Saturday that business owners were feeling the pinch as clients were no longer spending as freely as they used to. 

In a statement signed by MP Edwin Vassallo, the party's spokesman on small businesses, the PN said that although the government said tourism had increased, businesses geared towards tourists had reported still waiting for more work and sales, and for the tourists who came to Malta to spend more. 

Similarly, the PN said, retail businesses had seen their sales decrease, or had not seen the increase they were expecting, and were waiting for their clients to have more spending power. 

Many shop owners had reported that clients were no longer comfortable spending as much as they used to, the party said.