As the annual budget approaches, we are reassured by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Prime Minister Robert Abela that they will once again maintain fuel subsidies. However, they do so without distinguishing between rich and poor.
The short-sightedness of this proposal is understood even by the strongest supporters of the Labor Party because, with a debt of 9 billion euros, we can hardly continue to act as if nothing had happened.
Our position as DPAs is that fuel and electricity subsidies must target those who need them. A democratic and humane society protects the weakest among us and expects more responsibility from those who can pay more.
This bitter pill does not please our Prime Minister because, according to him, it is not easy to limit energy subsidies for the rich and the wasteful. So what’s easy? Put everyone together, so as not to upset the wealthiest?
Guidelines to be adopted by the public sector, such as temperature limits for air conditioning and dimming of lights on public buildings and monuments, are a positive step. However, by refusing to do more, the government is playing a political game instead of exercising responsible stewardship.
When we think that the subsidies cost hundreds of millions of euros to the taxpayer, these proposals are only mentioned at the last moment to temporarily appease the cry of the Chamber of Commerce, which also supports the idea of stopping these global subsidies. . This money should have been spent long ago on energy efficiency and renewable energies.
If you think grants don’t affect you because they aren’t spent directly on your salary, think again. Just think about the poor quality services we receive and you will see the big picture.
Cataract surgeries have been canceled for three months due to lack of resources-Sandra Gauci
Transport Malta employees have been told they will no longer be offered free milk with their coffee while its CEO, Jeffrey Curmi, will still earn €115,000 a year.
The University of Malta will suffer a reduction of 1.1 million euros. Then there is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores: the number of teachers and staff working in precarious conditions with contracts renewed each year.
Cataract operations have been suffering cancellations for three months due to a lack of resources to carry out the procedure: the power of intraocular lenses and operating packs, as well as our uncompetitive salaries compared to other countries, leaving us with understaffed hospitals and clinics.
Let’s not forget the freezing of national projects, such as the new ITS in SmartCity, which makes us regret the dirty decision to sell the original ITS site in Pembroke to db Group for a pittance.
Leadership requires courage and long-term vision, which our politically myopic prime minister lacks.
It’s time to give this country the right medicine: medicine that was postponed first because of the election and now because of the lack of will, energy and fear of ruffling voters who will be woken up from their sleep.
We have to face a difficult reality, to clean our governance of the corrupt patronage system which weighs heavily on our finances and our competitiveness.
We must ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share, especially those who receive favorable treatment from the government because of their influence. It’s time for them to face reality like the rest of us.
Sandra Gauci is the vice-president of the ADPD.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.