Updated – Malta News Briefing – Saturday 12 November 2022

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Cassola presents ‘first-hand evidence’ of corruption in Marsa Junction project

Arnold Cassola has provided what he described as “first-hand evidence” of corruption in the Marsa Junction project to the Police Commissioner. Reports on The Times of Malta indicate that the evidence includes email and WhatsApp chat conversations between major players involved in the multi-million euro project, and at least two “well known personalities” are involved, the independent political candidate said in a statement on Saturday. Cassola said that the information, handed to him by anonymous whistleblowers, proves that negotiations for the project were done in an irregular manner. The evidence also refers to “inexplicable” bank payments and what Cassola described as the “strong suspicion of the creaming off of commissions”. (Times of Malta)

Fitch confirms Malta’s A+ rating – outlook stable

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Malta’s rating at ‘A+’ with a Stable Outlook. Malta’s rating is supported by high per-capita income, a large net external creditor position and a pre-pandemic record of strong growth and sizeable debt reduction. These strengths are balanced against its large banking sector, the small size of its economy, which is highly vulnerable to external developments, and a recent deterioration in public finances with large fiscal deficits, which have led to a sharp increase in the moderate public debt burden. (Fitch)

Ombudsman says Government as laundering planning irregularities

Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud said that government was disregarding planning development rules, by carrying out illegal developments before obtaining the appropriate authorisations. Referring to rules that sanction illegal buildings built on land outside the development zone, Mifsud said that “we have reached the ridiculous stage where a public authority is sentenced to pay a penalty to another public authority in order to normalise this behaviour. Money is moving from one government pocket to another with people bearing the true price of the abuse,” expressed Mifsud. The Ombudsman believes that “this culture of sanctioning” should be prioritised on the political agenda. (Maltatoday)

New Emergency Department in the South

Health Minister Chris Fearne said that another emergency department will open in the coming months in southern Malta. Speaking on the public broadcaster, Fearne said the new emergency will be opened at the Ċensu Moran centre in Poala, describing the centre as another hospital that will cater for the south of Malta. The Moran centre emergency will open in summer. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

EU expects Maltese deficit to be among highest in 2023

Government deficit is set to decrease but remain among the highest in the EU, a Commission forecast has shown. According to fresh EU data, Malta’s deficit is expected to decrease from 7.8% of GDP in 2021 to 6.0% in 2022. The increase in public expenditure related to measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices is the main factor explaining this still high deficit level despite strong nominal GDP growth and the phasing out of pandemic-related support measures. These energy-related measures are estimated to account for 2.9% of GDP in 2022 and are expected to further rise to 3.5% of GDP in 2023, before declining to 2.7% of GDP in 2024. As a result, the general government deficit is set to decrease only marginally to 5.7% of GDP in 2023 and more markedly to 4.4% in 2024. Tax revenue is expected to increase over the forecast horizon, in line with nominal GDP. Following further growth in employment, the revenue from social contributions is also projected to continue increasing. The government debt-to-GDP ratio is set to increase to 57.4% in 2022 and gradually reach 60.6% in 2024 as the primary balance remains negative and nominal GDP growth becomes less dynamic.

PN concerned with number of road fatalities

The number of deaths on Malta’s roads and worsening traffic congestion are alarming but government has no plan to address the problems, the Nationalist Party said. PN MPs Adrian Delia and Ryan Callus said people were justly concerned about the number of traffic fatalities, which this year reached a 10-year high. “From a discussion on traffic, we ended up speaking about tragedies,” the MPs said on Friday. (Maltatoday)

Two girls injured after school van crashes

Two girl students were hospitalised after their school van was involved in a road incident at about 1.30pm in Triq l-Isqof F.S.Caruana, at Msida. The public broadcaster reported that the 46-year-old driver from Birkirkara lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall. At the time there were 12 students in the van. No further details on their condition was given. (TVM)

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