Govt needs to find other ways to finance urban greening projects – Dalli / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 7 September 2022

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Maltatoday reports that environment Minister Miriam Dalli said that government is still committed to its €700 million electoral pledge for urban greening projects but will seek alternative ways to fund these projects.

Times of Malta reports that two men were arrested on Wednesday over a fight involving a knife, in the latest in a series of violent incidents in Ħamrun.   A spokesperson for the police said the incident happened at around 11.30 am on Qormi Road, Ħamrun.

TVM news says that Opposition and Nationalist Party Leader Bernard Grech stated that the agreement between the Maltese Government and Socar, which he said was revealed in the last days, is another nail in what he called the history of corruption of the Government led by the Labour Party.

Mid-Day Briefing

Positive August for Malta’s airport: Malta International Airport’s traditionally busiest month lived up to expectations, with last August’s passenger movements exceeding the 700,000 mark for the first time since 2019. A total of 712,122 passengers travelled through Malta International Airport in August, marking a recovery of 86.5% of pre-pandemic traffic. This result was registered on the back of a recovery of 84.2% in seat capacity. The seat load factor measuring the occupancy of the seats available on flights operated to and from Malta, reached an all-time high of 90.2%, reflecting an increase of 2.4% compared to August 2019.

US warns of high incidence of human trafficking in Malta: The US State Department reported that massage parlours in Malta are likely to support a “huge incidence” of human trafficking. In its annual report on the subject, the US said that Maltese authorities do not effectively enforce labour recruitment regulations or monitor massage parlours. The US also warned about what it described as the perennial issues related to the rule of law, corruption and slow court proceedings, which hamper prosecutions and convictions, with no prosecutions taking place in 2021, the US said.

Maltese optimistic on economic prospects: Maltese citizens are the most optimistic in the EU on their country’s economic prospects, a Eurobarometer survey has found. Interestingly, Malta is the only EU state where a relative majority expect the economic situation in their country to get better in the next 12 months, as 47% of Maltese expect the economic situation to improve, while only 25% expect the situation to worsen. The survey also shows that the Maltese are the most likely in Europe to trust the European Union.

Morning Briefing

Experts had recommended further investigations on Egrant, Repubblika claims

Forensic experts tasked with looking into Pilatus Bank had recommended further investigations in the offshore company Egrant, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said on Tuesday. He was addressing a crowd during an anti-corruption protest in Valletta. Aquilina quoted the experts saying: “We recommend the following: seeking information from US authorities, or through a discovery application to US correspondent banks, of whether the alleged US$1.017 million Egrant transaction took place and if so which banks were involved.” Repubblika has submitted a legal challenge over this inaction. (Maltatoday)

MHRA says budget cuts should not target tourism

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) urged government to continue investing in tourism amid reports that infrastructural projects will be put on hold as the government attempts to cushion the spiralling cost of energy. The tourism lobby was another organisation which asked authorities not to target its sector in view of proposed budget cuts. While the MHRA said that it recognises government’s challenges to save on expenditure as it continues to subsidise electricity and fuel costs, “it is important that investment in the tourism sector is safeguarded in order to ensure that our economy remains sustainable.”

Minister confirms COLA could reach €10

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has confirmed that the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA , will be between €9 and €10. He warned that without Government’s subdidies on energy, this year’s COLA would have shot up to €25 per week. A number of business organisatons have pressured government to limit the increase,
arguing that it will put undue pressure on employers. Also yesterday, the MEA said that cost-of-living adjustments should be capped at €6 weekly for the next five years.

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