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Gas power station 'already being explored by government'

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

A gas powered power station was a line that the government was already exploring, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said in initial comments about Labour’s press conference this morning announcing its plans for the energy sector.

Dr Gonzi said he still had to see what the proposal was in detail and would give his reaction at a later stage, possibly today or in the coming days.

The Nationalist government, he said, had always done everything for the water and electricity bills to be as sustainable as possible

Dr Gonzi was addressing a gathering for families Qalb il-Familja, at Villa Arrigo in Naxxar.

He spoke on education saying that as this was one of the most important issues for parents so it had to be equally important for the government.

He said that while Malta considered stipends to be an investment, the UK had increased university fees, which led to the number of students going down by 40,000.

Dr Gonzi said that, since 2000 more than 2,000 scholarships were given out and this was an investment in the country future.

This was “a secure future”.

From Villa Arrigo, Dr Gonzi then visited the Cavalieri Hotel in St Julian's which he toured together with Tourism Minister Mario de Marco and met the staff.

Dr Gonzi at the Cavalieri Hotel.Dr Gonzi at the Cavalieri Hotel.

At the end of the visit staff were invited to ask questions and in his replies, the Prime Minister said that the indications for tourism in 2013 are very encouraging. He said that the trends for next year are very positive especially with the increase in airline routes.

Dr Gonzi said "we all have to treat tourists with respect and this has to be the culture of the whole country".

The Prime Minister said that tourist arrivals increased by 11 per cent over the arrivals in the first 11 months of 2008.

Tourists spent more than 1 million nights in Malta over and above the number of nights they spent here in 2008 and they spent 278 million euros more

He also pointed out that he was recently informed that the rate of participation of Maltese women in the labour market had gone up from 38.6 per cent to 44 per cent. “That is very positive as we’re inching closer to the European median,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that Malta still had the sixth lowest unemployment rate among EU countries.

At 6.9 per cent, the country's unemployment rate was well below the EU average. Cyprus, on the other hand, saw one of the largest increases in unemployment with this going up from 9.5 to 14 per cent.

Dr Gonzi noted that the average salary in Malta had increased by 400 euros a year.

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