Updated – Malta News Briefing – Saturday 7 October 2023

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Baby among seven injured in Zabbar crash

The Times of Malta reports that six people, including four children and a baby just four months old, were rushed to hospital on Friday afternoon following a crash on Labour Avenue in Żabbar. The police said on Saturday that four cars – a Volvo XC60, a Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Ist and Renault Captur – were involved in yesterday’s evening crash, which eyewitnesses described as “chaotic”. (Times of Malta)

PN wants Edward Scicluna resignation after FIAU suffers court defeat

The Nationalist Party has called for the resignation of former Minister Edward Scicluna from Central Bank Governor after the Industrial Tribunal decided that Jonathan Ferris was discriminated when the FIAU fired him during his job probation period with the agency. The PN said that it expects that the Government ensures that all those responsible for this abuse will shoulder responsibility, especially former Minister Scicluna, adding that if the latter does not resign, the Prime Minister should start a process to remove Professor Scicluna from Governor. (TVM)

Lower VAT for four services announced

Starting next year, a reduced VAT rate of 12% will be applied to four new categories, according to a new legal notice. The notice states that the 12% rate will apply to the following items: custody of management of securities; management of credit and credit guarantees by a person or body other than those who granted the credit; short-term leasing of pleasure boats; and services consisting of the care of the human body. The new rate will come into force on 1 January 2024. (Maltatoday)

Morning Briefing

Ferris wins case against FIAU on unfair dismissal

A court upheld former FIAU Head Jonathan Ferris’ claims that he was discriminated against and unjustly dismissed from his managerial post at the Unit (FIAU), and awarded him €20,000 in compensation. The former police inspector, whose name is synonymous with several major financial crime investigations, had taken up the position of Head of Unit at the FIAU on November 1, 2016. However, his employment was terminated after what the FIAU board called an objective assessment of his probation. The Court decision led to public calls for Central Bank Governor and former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna to resign. (Times of Malta)

Government blaming business for its deficienies – PN

The Nationalist Party asserted that the Labour Party has exhausted any hope of addressing the cost of living crisis and is now resorting to blaming Maltese businesses and importers for its deficiencies. Addressing the press, Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut, refering to the fact that it was a Labour MEP who asked the Commission to investigate food importers, Sammut noted that individuals close to Prime Minister Robert Abela no longer have confidence in their government’s ability to address the challenges posed by the rising cost of living. Furthermore, Sammut contended that Abela is engaged in a futile battle against the cost of living, describing the actions taken against Maltese businesses as both an “attack” and an “insult.” He also recalled an instance in which he claimed that PL candidate Clint Azzopardi Flores had similarly targeted Maltese businessmen and shop owners. Sammut concluded by emphasizing that Malta deserves leadership that can provide a better quality of life for its citizens. (The Malta Independent)

Students unhappy on selective stipend increase

Several student organisations have lashed out at the Education Ministry for what they view as ongoing disregard for the Arts and Humanities, particularly after the ministry announced increased stipends for specific university courses. In a statement released on Friday, 18 organizations deemed this approach ineffective in addressing the teacher shortage and urged the education ministry to cease sidelining the Arts and Humanities. Earlier this Autumn, Government had disclosed the inclusion of 36 courses eligible for higher stipends. The organizations argued that the ministry’s selection of qualifying courses reflects a prioritization of producing workers for business interests over fostering intellectual growth. As a result of these changes, students enrolling in programs such as social work, Earth Systems, and Artificial Intelligence will receive higher stipends starting this academic year. (Newsbook)

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