Chamber asks for six-month notice prior to elimination of energy subsidy / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 12 October 2023

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Chamber asks for six-month notice prior to elimination of energy subsidy:x The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has requested that the government provide a six-month notice period before reducing or eliminating energy subsidies. The business lobby group highlighted the insufficient awareness of the true impact of the energy crisis and climate change, which is influencing consumer behaviour. For a number of years, electricity and fuel prices have been maintained at a stable level, especially since the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine, as the government’s goal was to minimize inflation. However, the increasing costs of goods and services in the past two years have led to unprecedented levels of inflation. The government’s argument is that if energy prices were to increase, inflation would surge even further.

September travel tops pre-Covid levels by 6.5%: Malta International Airport reported that September marked the third consecutive month with over 800,000 passengers passing through the airport. The total passenger count for September reached 812,176, representing a 6.5% increase compared to the figures from 2019. This growth coincided with a 3% rise in the number of available seats on flights to and from Malta when compared to 2019. Despite this increase in capacity, the Seat-Load Factor (SLF), which measures the percentage of filled seats, remained high at 89.2%. This indicates strong demand for flights. The list of the top five arrival and destination countries remained unchanged, with Italy maintaining its position at the top, followed by Great Britain, Germany, France, and Spain for yet another month.

Malta tops EU charts for dementia-related mortality

Malta registered the highest dementia-related mortality rate in Europe, with just over 80 fatalities per 100,000 individuals in 2020. According to the freshly-released Eurostat data, this figure is nearly double the rate documented in 2011, when 47.6 deaths per 100,000 individuals were reported. Nonetheless, experts in the field caution against interpreting this data as a direct indication of a doubling in the prevalence of dementia.

Caruana Galizia family say resource disparty creates prejudice in libel case

The lawyer for the heirs of the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia underscored the significant disparity in resources between the murdered journalist and the State-funded Egrant inquiry. Therese Comodini Cachia presented her arguments in a human rights case filed by Caruana Galizia’s family, who contend that they cannot adequately prepare a defence against an ongoing libel case initiated by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat against the deceased journalist. The family asserts that only she possessed the knowledge of her sources. Comodini Cachia explained to Madam Justice Miriam Hayman that Caruana Galizia had multiple sources for her Egrant story, adhering to responsible journalism practices. She emphasized that Muscat’s reliance on evidence gathered during a million-euro investigation, which Caruana Galizia couldn’t afford, created a prejudicial situation for the defendants. Comodini Cachia also stressed the incomparability of Caruana Galizia’s assessment of available evidence with the extensive and resource-intensive magisterial inquiry, which incurred significant costs and had resources beyond the journalist’s reach. (The Malta Independent)

€200,000 consultancy as Air Malta prepares for transition
Air Malta has contracted an Abu Dhabi-based consultancy firm Knighthood Global under a monthly retainer of €200,000, as part of the government’s preparations to close down Air Malta and launch a new national carrier. The contract with Knighthood Global was presented in Parliament as a response to a parliamentary query from Nationalist MP Paula Mifsud Bonnici. Knighthood Global provides consultancy and business advisory services, with a particular focus on the aviation and tourism sectors. The firm’s founder, James Hogan, formerly held the position of President at the Etihad Aviation Group. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana clarified that Knighthood Global’s engagement is temporary and involves providing financial and strategic guidance, assisting the airline’s management in implementing the new business plan for the upcoming national carrier, and supplying temporary aviation sector expertise. (Times of Malta)

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