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Fenech says PL tariffs plan is a gamble

Joseph Muscat is gambling with his political career by promising a power tariffs reduction project which will not happen before five years, according to Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.

He said in a televised Broadcasting Authority debate that Labour’s energy proposal was similar to the “vote-winning” pre-election promises the party made in the past: the removal of VAT in 1996, the two-month tax holiday promised in 2003 and the promise to halve the water and electricity surcharge in 2008.

He said Labour would go through with its electoral promise by digging into funds earmarked for health and education.

 “You are taking people for a ride,” he charged during the debate with Labour MP Chris Cardona.

He challenged the party to publish the full reports of its consultants and expressed doubts on how the party could promise to build a new power station in just one year.

Dr Cardona fired back saying the proposal was “credible and doable” and was well-received by families, self employed and social partners, including the Malta Employers Association, which described it as “well-researched and ambitious”.

“The PN does not have concrete proposals because the party has not drawn up its electoral programme so it is sowing doubts on our ideas,” he said, as he recalled the public transport reform fiasco and the number of patients waiting at Mater Dei Hospital’s corridors.

He asked whether Mr Fenech was ready to apologise for the €500 weekly increase ministers took behind people’s backs. He mentioned Smart City and the 5,600 jobs which had to be created and the letters sent to Air Malta workers assuring them of their jobs.

While admitting that there were “many things which could have been done better”, Mr Fenech listed the results achieved by the government during the past five years.

“We are going to continue building on what we achieved. Small businesses will be strengthened, by widening the Micro Invest scheme. We are building a new oncology hospital and will continue to provide free medicine,” he said, as he stressed that only the Nationalist Party can offer peace of mind.

 

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