Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna welcomes the IMF 2017 Article IV Mission Concluding Statement, stating that prudent policies and advanced structural reforms contributed to the strengthening of private and public-sector balance sheets, whilst steady job creation drove unemployment to historically low levels.
“I am also pleased to note that the IMF recommendations on building larger fiscal buffers that would add strength to Malta’s fiscal position, are already being implemented through the attainment of an annual fiscal surplus. Furthermore, through the 2018 Budget, we are also addressing the IMF recommendations on social and affordable housing”, remarks Finance Minister Edward Scicluna.
PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE
The report welcomes the Government’s progress in improving public finances. Specifically, the report notes that Malta achieved its medium-term objective (MTO) of a structural balance in 2016, three years ahead of schedule as a result of buoyant tax revenues and contained expenditure growth. It also notes that public debt fell below 60 per cent of GDP. The IMF expects the 2017 general Government surplus to reach 1.3 percent of GDP.
The report also notes that Malta’s economic growth remains one of the strongest in Europe, reflected by rapid income convergence towards the European Union (EU) average. It expects the robust growth to continue in the coming years – mainly driven by domestic demand backed by rising incomes and historically-low unemployment. The IMF further expects the risks to this outlook to be broadly balanced.
The IMF mission acknowledges Malta’s favourable external position, adding that buoyant services exports will continue to sustain current account surpluses.
The IMF also welcomes Government’s plans to upgrade the road network and to push higher utilisation of public transportation which, it states, will help to mitigate endemic congestion, thereby improving the population’s well-being and fostering business productivity.
The report notes that domestic banks remain sound and profitable and invites the Government to continue implementing measures that further safeguard financial stability.
– 18th November, 2017