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Gonzi highlights importance of stipends

Gozo was once again at the centre of the campaign trail tonight, with  Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi mteting supporters in Gharb, one of the smallest Gozitans villages.

"This is the third or fourth time we have come to Gozo in this campaign and we have not come empty-handed... We never do," he said, highlighting the array of Gozo-related initiatives in the PN electoral programme.

He took the opportunity to speak about stipends saying they were an important and worthwhile investment that was reaping results.

"This is one of the secrets of Malta's success," he said, adding that Malta had raised the number of students furthering their studies at an impressive rate.

He said that had the government not created 20,000 jobs in the past five years there would be mass unemployment especially among young people.

Dr Gonzi urged the young people sitting around him to continue studying and was told by one young graduate that she worked in Malta not because there was no work in Gozo but it was her choice to work in Malta.

"A Nationalist Government will continue working hand in hand with you," Dr Gonzi said.

Dr Gonzi said it was positive that the number of courses in Gozo had grown and the next step was to introduce exams in Gozo.

He also spoke about the importance of medical tourism, a sector developed in the last few years thanks to the investment at Mater Dei Hospital. Although he acknowledged problems at the hospital, he said he was frequently thanked for the high level of medical service in Malta, which could also generate business.

Referring to his visit to the Kempinski Hotel's spa to see new investment, he said he wished to see more high quality hotels investing in health tourism to attract tourists during the shoulder winter months.

He said that in terms of the PN's electoral programme, businesses investing in Gozo would benefit from three years of tax credits of up to €200,000 when they employed at least two people.

Dr Gonzi also said experts were analyzing the options of an underground link with Gozo and said this would be a priority for the PN.

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