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Finance Minister says economy needs better-skilled workers / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 5 October 2021

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Latest Update- News Portal Briefing

Times of Malta says Josette Schembri Vella is one step closer to being tried for money laundering, with a court ruling on Tuesday that she has a case to answer for that crime.

MaltaToday reports that an eyewitness who saw the killing of four flamingos in Qawra testified that he saw hunter Miguel Zammit pointing his shotgun in the air shortly after the flamingos dropped from the sky to the sea.

Newsbook reports that more witnesses are expected to take the stand in the criminal proceedings against former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman.

TVM says that the Court rejected a request by Italian authorities so that 43-year old Paul Attard from Rabat is extradited to Italy to face charges on trafficking of ten tons of cannabis resin.

Mid-Day Briefing

Finance Minister says economy needs better-skilled workers

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana called for a better-skilled Maltese workforce in the country’s effort to ensure higher incomes for families, stressing the need that foreign labour was required for the immediate future. Launching a new Employment Strategy, Caruana said that Malta needs to improve its productivity to reduce demand for more foreign workers, which is one of the policy aims but it is easier said than done because it requires a better-skilled Maltese workforce. This is why the need for importing labour will remain if we are to sustain economic growth levels of recent years.” .

Caruana argued that restricting labour migration programmes to sectors with actual labour shortages will better align the skills of migrant workers with labour market needs and prevent the misuse of the programmes by employers seeking to erode labour standards.

The report recognises that with 77% of those aged between 20 and 64 in work, Malta’s employment ratio was already at par with the EU target set for 2030. However, Caruana lamented Malta’s high early school-leaving rate, comparing it to Scandinavia, where young people spend an average of 21 years in education, while Malta has one of the highest rates of early school leavers in the EU.

The Minister also ruled out any discussion on a four-day week at the time being.

Covid-19 Update

Active coronavirus cases remained stable at 292 after 25 new cases were detected in the past two hours, two less then recoveries. Eight people are recovering at Mater Dei Hospital.

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Cutajar says decision to stepdown from CoE was hers, PN reacts: Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar wrote on Facebook that contrary to reports, she had not been dismissed from the Council of Europe. She said some months ago, well before the complaint against her had been moved, she had asked to be substituted. In a statement, the PN said that all this shows that when PM Robert Abela speaks of good governance he does not really mean it, as he continues to protect an MP who was found guilty of breaching the code of ethics.

Company owned by wife of Keith Schembri received thousands from Hillman and Allied Newspapers

3City Design Limited, a company owned by the wife of former OPM chief Keith Schembri, saw thousands of euro transferred through it from Adrian Hillman, Allied Newspapers, and Schembri himself. During the compilation of evidence against Josette Vella Schembri, which continued this morning, Inspector Leanne Bonello said that her company formed part of a complex scheme used to transfer sums of cash between various entities. She testified that 3City Design was set up in 2008, the same year in which the first Kasco-Allied printing press deal was first drafted. Substantial sums of money were also received from Allied Newspapers. Vella Schembri is accused of money-laundering and not observing all of the duties of a company director.

Morning Briefing

Pandora Papers allegations to be investigated

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa said that the police investigate all allegations of crime that come to its attention, replying to whether the force will be looking into the Pandora Papers revelations. “I can assure the public that every time an allegation of a crime reaches the police, an investigation is launched,” Gafa said. “In Malta, there are a number of authorities and agencies, the police force among them, and we work with them, including through our Financial Crime Task Force.” The only reference to a Maltese citizen to be made public so far was former Minister John Dalli, with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including The Times of Malta, revealing how the former minister and European commissioner used nominee services provided by the Panama law firm Alcogal to conceal his ownership of the BVI company Westmead Overseas Limited. Dalli is denying any wrongdoing.

Rosianne Cutajar removed from Council of Europe role

Government has taken off MP Rosianne Cutajar from Malta’s delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, a few weeks before she had to face breach of conduct accusations before the council’s rules.The announcement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne in parliament, who also said that Energy Minister Miriam Dalli will be taking her place. Cutajar is being investigated over a 2019 speech in which she criticised a colleague’s report into the Daphne Caruana Galizia case and the rule of law in Malta, without informing her counterparts that she was in contact with Yorgen Fenech. Cutajar has denied receiving money for her role as the broker in the sale of an Mdina home to Yorgen Fenech.

Covid-19 Update: 24 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, while 23 recovered, leaving the active case tally practically unchanged at 294. Six patients remain in hospital, but none require intensive therapy.

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