Tonio Fenech's credibility was downgraded - Edward Scicluna
Labour candidate Edward Scicluna refused to say that Malta’s economy was downgraded, but rather that; “Tonio Fenech’s credibility was downgraded”.
PL spokesman for finances Karmenu Vella said that the downgrading of our country’s credit rating is ‘bad news’ adding that the S&P report called Enemalta an ailing utility.
“This downgrade came whilst the PN have been claiming that we have a solid economy. We have long been telling them to watch our finances and we were not alone. The International Monetary Fund also warned them,” he explained. He argued that Malta has had five years of rising debt and entered into an EU alert, resulting in the EU keeping a watchful eye on Malta’s finances. He stated that 8.2% of public money is being spent paying interest on loans. "This is how countries like Spain and Greece went under. National debt is the real problem".
“Tonio Fenech is running away from this problem. Our debt is causing fiscal problems which will not allow our country to keep running,” he argued. “We will be missing our target regarding the reduction of our deficit”. He said that we have been ‘deficit running’ for over a year. He concluded that the national debt is 75% of the GDP not 70% as the PN have been saying.
Labour Candidate Charles Mangion called Enemalta 'bankrupt', arguing that the PN have not hit their deficit targets since 2009. “This will keep investors away”. There are also contingent liabilities which the PN ignored, he said, explaining that these include liabilities such as Enemalta, which needs to be handled in a more effective way. He also spoke on having more women in the workforce.
The PN have claimed that there are 135,000 full time workers, he said. “No official body other than the PN have claimed that they brought 20,000 more jobs in this legislature. In fact, official statistics show that jobs have increased by 4,000 over the past five years. In addition this doesn't mean that they have done well for the economy". Karmenu Vella added that the quality of jobs are not good. "We must look at the whole labour market where graduates are forced to work in jobs that are beneath them".
“The PL has been telling the PN that they need to lower the deficit for a long time and if we don’t remain under a 3% deficit, then we will have serious problems,” Edward Scicluna said, adding that we currently have a 2.8% deficit.
The candidates refused to say how they will reduce bureaucracy by 25%, be it by reducing the government workforce or costs for services. They did say however, that committees, Ministries and governmental departments have to explain why procedures take long and emphasised that such time wastage has to be reduced.