The Nationalist Party has insisted that the budget announced by the government this evening is one lacking in vision, and which does not address challenges the country will be facing in the future.
Reacting to the budget, Opposition leader Bernard Grech insisted that it showed the government’s lack of strategy, adding that the government was not credible when it came to administering the country’s finances.
Grech accused the government of failing in its financial targets and was projecting the same deficit next year that it had promised this year.
“This budget is up in the air because despite a much larger deficit than predicted, has still seen only a third of last year’s budget implemented,” Grech said, adding that the government will have increased the national debt by €5 billion between 2020 and 2024.
“This huge discrepancy shows that debt is not the result of COVID-19, but of corruption and a lack of direction.”
The budget, he said, had also forgotten a number of crucial sectors, like the country’s frontliners, teachers and LSEs as well as the police.
It wasn’t all bad, however, with Grech saying that there were a number of positive measures, such as the increase in free medicines, including IVF medicine, which he said the PN had been insisting on for a while now.
Grech also said that the budget did nothing to create new economic sectors for the country. “There is nothing about manufacturing, tourism, financial services,” he said, adding the country was still relying on the economy set up by PN governments.
“Nothing was said about the cost of living and the assistance announced is too small. Money has been spent on consultancies. Nothing was mentioned about the way of helping industry deal with the crisis in the import/export sector,” he said.
Rather than pushing for a better work-life balance, Grech said that Labour was telling people they needed to get a second job.
He also expressed doubts about whether the government would do good on its pledge to introduce free public transport. “Up until yesterday all we were hearing about was the metro and we don’t have a single Euro to carry out a study. Don’t expect a metro or free public transport to appear tomorrow. You’ll have to wait for another budget,” Grech said.
Grech also pointed to the fact that by announcing a new mechanism for the calculation of water and electricity tariffs, the government was effectively admitting that people were being robbed by the state agency. “Labour won’t give you back that which it stole from you,” he said, insisting that a PN government would do just that.
Dwar is-settur għall-enerġija, il-Ministru Clyde Caruana qal li ser jirranġa mekkaniżmu tal-kontijiet izda mhux meta. Dak li serqek il-Labour mhux se jtihulek lura. Partit Nazzjonalista fil-Gvern jagħtik dak li nsteraqlek.
Grech insisted that the country the Labour administration had created was not the one the PN, or the people, aspired to live in.
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