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Budget on October 22

Minister highlights need to manage growth

The government will be presenting its 2019 budget on October 22, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna announced on Monday. 

Speaking during a pre-budget consultation meeting, Prof. Scicluna said Malta was at a stage where it needed to manage its success.

He said economic growth could not be taken for granted, as it had to be closely observed and interpreted.

While the economy was still growing faster than other countries, it was starting to decelerate, he said.

On the booming real estate market, the Finance Minister said he would be worried if supply were not keeping up with demand.

He said growth was broad and diversified, and would not be fanned needlessly.
Stimulus would be reserved for when the economy needed, he continued.

The Finance Minister said a healthy economy needed an inflation rate of around two per cent.

Turning to government finances, Prof. Scicluna said the surplus had raised expectations. He said the government was aiming for a balanced budget rather than a surplus. Excess revenues would be spent and redistributed.

Prof. Scicluna admitted that the government’s passport sale scheme had had an effect on the budget balance.

He said the government aimed to balance the budget regardless of the scheme, so if it were to stop, it would not effect the balancing of the books.

The Finance Minister said Malta’s booming growth could not have been possible without the influx of foreign workers. Without these workers, the labour market would have tightened, leading to rising wages and an uncompetitive economy.

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