Last Updated 22 | 11 | 2012 at 09:00


BLOG: "Jekk tigi tajba, tajjeb, jekk le, naraw"

Article By:
Owen Bonnici

Finally the Finance Minister Tonio Fenech has let the cat out of the bag and declared the 28th November next to be budget day.

Of course, Mr Fenech did not deem it fit to make such an important announcement in the House of Representatives, which has been reduced to a "bicca Parlament" (forgive me the pun) under this administration, but on a show on TVM.

Budget day this year is important more than any other year due to the current infighting which is obtaining within the PN Parliamentary Group.  As we all know Dr Lawrence Gonzi is still occupying the office of Prime Minister merely on the presumed majority he has in the House as opposed to a real majority which any Prime Minister worthy of that name should hold.

This year has been a difficult year for the Maltese families and businesses.  For some considerable number of months during this year our country has been in a recession and businesses are claiming loss of revenue and turnover almost across the board.

During such difficult times the least families and business expect is stability on the political level.  That there is a Government which is in fact a safe pair of hands and gives the stability one needs in these troubled times.

And yet, despite the almost certain possibility that the Budget be shot down by one of his own colleagues  (the Finance Minister said so in the papers), Dr Gonzi decided to gamble on.  "Jekk tigi tajba, tajjeb jekk le naraw" kind of mentality.  Which is of course a no go.  Particularly in this difficult economic period.

What's more Lawrence Gonzi, instead of trying to pitch for supranational support, decided to tie the upcoming Budget with a vote of confidence.  He clearly stated in public that a YES vote on this issue is a YES vote in him as Prime Minister and his Government.

So the question is: do I, as Opposition MP, have trust in Lawrence Gonzi as Prime Minister?  The answer is a clear NO for a multitude of reasons, not least because I believe that the guy is holding to his seat of power at all costs independently of what the national interest dictates.  Had the Prime Minister been a gentleman, he would have gone to the polls as soon as he realised that he lost the effective majority to provide safe pair of hands.

Since we do not have trust in Lawrence Gonzi as Prime Minister the whole Labour Parliamentary group will be voting against the forthcoming budget.

Yet, we realise that should the budget be defeated, the whole economy would be triggered in a whole state of uncertainty.  Businesses will be calling their advisors asking them questions in the line of: what is the obtaining position under this or that scheme or tax regime - the position before the reading of the budget or the position after the budget?  What is exactly going to happen?  How am I expected to take a proper decision?

Jobs might be lost because of this uncertainty.

Lawrence Gonzi should have been man enough to avert this situation in the first place by admitting that he has lost his majority in the House months ago.  But since this utmost uncertainty will be there should the Budget fail to be approved as Mr Fenech told the press, the Labour Party has put forward an important declaration which will set the mind of most families and business at rest.

The Labour Leader, Dr Joseph Muscat has stated in no uncertain terms that a new Labour Government will adopt all the positive measures arising out of the budget and build on them.  That way, the families and business have relative absolute certainty and a smooth transition in this aspect.

That is what, the national interest, after all dictates.  Pity that Dr Lawrence Gonzi thinks completely the opposite.

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