At election time, there is always the temptation for politicians to appear with eye-catching promises and pledges. Yesterday, Lawrence Gonzi and Tonio Fenech revealed their electoral plans to increase government recurrent expenditure annually by €120 million, and displacing annual capital expenditure by quickly-thought-out projects costing €165 million each year. The total bill for the four year pledge adds up to over €1.1 billion in the process.
What they did not tell us was where they will get the money from.
We’ve seen this before. The same people who broke most of the Eurozone rules during the first month of the Euro, nearly doubled the national debt, and saw Malta downgraded twice in five years, have not learnt their lesson. They want to go on with their borrowing-based extravagance, even as Europe staggers from the wreckage of a debt crisis. You don’t need me to tell you how this endangers jobs, puts healthcare at risk and threathens spending on schools.
Malta has a potentially bright economic future – but only if we stop rewarding reckless irresponsibility like this. We need a government with responsibly costed plans that we can afford.
Let’s not forget that GonziPN promised a balanced budget by 2010. He missed spectacularly, instead blowing your money on hand-outs and wasteful projects. He promised cheaper electricity bills, instead delivering the highest bills ever. This is what today we all have to bear with. Sacrifices for the many, postponed purchases, belt-tightening. It does not need to be this way.
We cannot risk another five years of missed targets, credit rating downgrades, and higher utility bills.
We are setting out a positive alternative vision every day of this campaign. Because we believe that it’s time to choose responsible economic and financial management over reckless gambling; costed plans over election gimmicks; and accountable leadership over empty electioneering. Everything else depends on this.
We rely on your good judgement.
Prof Edward Scicluna
– Tuesday, 29th January, 2013