Malta relegated to Serie B - PL spokesmen

Standard and Poor’s report yesterday shows that Malta has been relegated to Serie B, Labour MP Karmenu Vella said this morning.

Addressing a news conference he said that the report was a certificate of five years of incompetence, the result of broken promises, uncertainty and indifference to warnings the government received in the past few years from, among others, the Central Bank and other credit rating agencies.

Mr Vella noted that this was Malta’s second downgrade since November.

The country’s debt was reducing its flexibility and it was borrowing for unproductive projects. The government was paying €250 million in interest, which amounted to 8.2 per cent of its revenue. If this went up to 10 per cent, Malta would get have downgrade.

Asked whether Labour had a roadmap the repayment of Enemalta’s debt, Mr  Vella said €316 million were being paid through a special purpose vehicle over a 25-year period and the remaining €519 would be outstanding debt.

Through labour’s energy plan, Enemalta would make a saving of €187 million a year, €77 million of which would be used to reduce tariffs. The rest of the savings would be used to, among others, start eliminating some of Enemalta’s debts.  No target date as to by when these debts would be eliminated was given.

He said that a Labour government would not privatise Airmalta and Enemalta.

Labour MP Charles Mangion mentioned the reference to Malta’s low female participation rate in the S&P report and said that Labour had an aggressive plan to increase this. It would be announcing this plan in the coming weeks.

MEP Edward Scicluna said that Labour’s measures for economic growth would be announced soon. He stated that the party would say how much each measure would cost.

The issue of the Prime Minister’s claim that 20,000 jobs had been created was raised with Prof. Scicluna saying this was a figment of the Prime Minister’s imagination. According to official statistics, he said, the Labour Force had increased by just 4,000.

Prof. Scicluna said that the PL’s report on energy would not be published in full as it had the percentage of profit margin the government was willing to give the private sector going in for the expense.

“We published enough to show the plan is credible,” he said.

Mr Vella noted that most proposals announced so far would lead to savings rather than expenses.



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