Konrad Mizzi to miss PAC meeting after hospital admission / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 17 November 2021

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Updated 1240 – Mid-Day Briefing

Price of second-hand cars rises by 30%: Prices of second-hand cars have risen about 30% due to the global shortage of micro-chips, according to a member of an importers’ association, quoted by The Times of Malta. “People ordering new cars now are being told to wait until next year for delivery, which means they are holding on to their own vehicles and not putting them on the market, leading to a shortage,” Abela explained. Clients who would have preferred to opt for new cars are being asked to wait for up to a year, and therefore choose a second-hand option. “The result is that quality second-hand cars are few and far between and prices are really high,” Abela, who is a member of the Malta Car Importers Association (MCIA), explained.

Inflation doubles in October: In October 2021, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the HICP was 1.4%, double the increase registered a month before (0.7%), figures published by the NSO today show. Despite this increase, Malta’s inflation remained lowest in the European, below Portugal (1.8%), Finland and Greece (both 2.8%). Food remained the biggest contributor to inflation in Malta, with the Food and non-alcoholic beverages Index increasing by +0.53%, largely due to higher prices of vegetables. The second largest impacts was measured in the Recreation and culture Index (+0.34%).

Konrad Mizzi to miss PAC meeting after hospital admission: Former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi will miss today’s public accounts committee meeting that is looking into the selection of Electrogas for the Delimara power plant after being admitted to hospital. Mizzi had originally refused to attend the sittings describing the work of the committee as a ‘partisan attack’.

Covid-19 Update: 64 cases were reported on Wednesday by health authorities, as 30 patients recovered. Active cases have reached 670, with 15 patients being treated in hospital.

Morning Briefing

PN calls for withdrawal of Legal Notice described as ‘tax amnesty’

The Opposition will be presenting a motion in parliament seeking withdrawal of legal notice 419, which it describes as effectively an amnesty which the government has introduced by stealth and which sis discriminatory. The legal notice in question allows persons who have tax arrears can set off those arrears by transferring tax due on property transfers. The PN said this legal notice was a blow to all those who had paid all due tax and it rewarded those who abused. The PN also highlighted the fact that rthis measure was contrary to the action plan agreed with the Financial Action Task Force to get Malta off the greylist of financial jurisdictions.

New operator to handle national lottery rights

A new national lottery rights licence has been awarded to National Lottery plc, The Times of Malta reported. While National Lottery plc’s offer was for €105,077,777, Sisal Malta Consortium submitted a €53,330,001 bid. The company, which is majority-owned by the Izi Group, will take over the national lottery from Maltco Lotteries, whose concession ends on July 4, 2022. 

Parliament commences cannabis debate

Parliament has commenced the debate on a bill setting up an Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis, with Minister Owen Bonnici instisting that tthe focus of the bill to reform cannabis laws is on decriminalisation and harm reduction: “The reality is that people who use cannabis responsibly have long been criminalised”, he said. Opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg said that the bill evokes a sense of being rushed, without enough research having taken place. “There are serious problems with alcohol and drug abuse in the country,” said Buttigieg while noting that not enough importance is being given to minors in this bill.

Covid-19 Update: 64 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, while 31 virus patients recovered. 16 people are hospitalised, including 2 in intensive care, the health authorities said.

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