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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE AND THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS

Reference Number: PR170483, Press Release Issue Date: Mar 27, 2017
 

Four international reports confirm Malta’s impressive economic performance, debunk false notions

 

The reports published by credit rating agency Fitch, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), confirm the positive results of policies undertaken by Government, and debunk false notions being reported in the media.

 

This statement was made today during a press conference addressed by Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg at the Ministry for Finance.

 

Minister Scicluna referred to the Fitch rating report, as well as the Country Report and the Winter Forecast published by the European Commission, as well as the IMF country report, which were published earlier this month. He explained the function of each of the four reports, which examined the Maltese economy’s past - and expected results - which are positive under many aspects. He described how the reports directly discredit certain notions perpetrated in the media, namely that government expenditure is out of control, and that poverty is on the rise. The four reports, said Minister Scicluna, confirmed that besides increased economic growth, Malta is succeeding in distributing wealth in a better way, and that more people are accessing such wealth.

 

Furthermore, reports which showed that the top local wage earners earn four times the wage of a bottom earner actually show that income disparity in Malta is one of the lowest in the world. With regards to government expenditure, the Minister said that the latest government statistics showed that government debt and deficit have fallen in January 2017, when compared to January 2016. It was also shown that government recurrent expenditure showed a moderate rise, comparable with pay rises as agreed by standing collective agreements.

 

“In the run-up to next year’s general election, I appeal to the opposition to come up with policy suggestions which are properly costed and to not make unrealistic promises which trigger a race to the bottom and harm the economy,” Minister Scicluna said.

 

During the press conference, Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg analysed the Malta European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey, which not only is positive to the GDP, but also strong with regards to employment rates, and showing significant growth in employment rates amongst women, which is above the EU average. Parliamentary Secretary Borg emphasized that EU funds are leaving a positive impact on Malta’s economic growth, such as poverty reduction and social exclusion. Malta is addressing the social challenges and strengthening policies for active inclusion.

 

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg stated that Government has invested significantly in the educational sector over the past years, also with the aid of EU Funds schemes like the Youth Guarantee and Access to Employment, worth €4 million and €12 million respectively. The latter helps employers, and around four hundred persons are already benefiting from the scheme. Another successful scheme, amounting to €6 million, is aimed at traineeships and to provide work exposure, which six hundred persons annually are already making use of. 

 

Borg also mentioned the investment taking place in MCAST, and referred to the recent VET Labs investment, which will involve the setting up of a total of forty-four labs in eleven schools in Malta, and four VET labs in a school in Gozo, as well as the second phase of the MCAST Campus Master-Plan in Corradino, with a total projected cost of €33 million, out of which €31 million are EU funded. The amount invested will be three times more than the amount spent in Phase 1.

 

Parliamentary Secretary Borg concluded by saying that more funds under the 2014-2020 will be channelled in Research, Development and Innovation, an area valued at some €70 million. 

 

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