Shelve air-fairy projects, MEA tells Government in budget proposals

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The current strain on public finances calls for a rationalisation of expenditure to bring the deficit to manageable and sustainable levels, the Malta Employers Association said today as it presented its budgetary proposals.

The MEA said that promises of large infrastructural projects – the Gozo Tunnel, the Metro and others – often accompanied by extravagant and expensive PR campaigns will have to be shelved in favour of more pressing infrastructural priorities, such as the distribution of electricity, infrastructure for electric mobility, and outdated and worn drainage systems in many parts of Malta.

The Association put strong emphasis on the need for fiscal sustainability and fiscal morality, calling for a clamping down of wastage of public
funds and abuse of social benefits, particularly ensuring that tax-payers’ funds are used diligently and not squandered on inefficient recipients. “The public needs to be given more confidence that the funds it is contributing by way of taxes are being used wisely, not squandered but the current lack of transparency in itself is counter productive to the efficient collection of tax.”

On the economy, the MEA said that Malta is witnessing a strong dependency of economic growth on construction. The environmental impact of such a dependency is being felt on people’s well-being, as well as the attractiveness of Malta as a quality tourism destination or even as a place to work for expats, it added, calling for a shift towards a stronger, higher value-added manufacturing and services will create jobs without compromising the natural environment.

Expectedly, the MEA also shares its views on the COLA, with employers arguing that the current spike in COLA will inevitably lead to a deterioration in competitiveness and/or further price increases to compensate for declining profit margins. “Adding to this burden will only make the situation worse, and may also result in layoffs. The MEA is mindful of the potential long-term damage which could be inflicted by artificial wage increases. Wage increases that are not matched by productivity and which would need to be absorbed internally may deprive companies from precious capital and resources that would otherwise be channelled towards, training, innovation and technology. These investments are indispensable for the resilience and long-term
prospects of our companies”, the MEA argues in its proposals.

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