Crucial MCESD meeting as Finance Minister prepares for “tough budget”
A crucial meeting of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) will be held this morning at Castille during which the Government will be presenting the pre-budget document to the social partners for the 2010 Budget.
The meeting, is being considered as “crucial” following Finance Minister Tonio Fenech’s declaration on Sunday that next year’s budget will be “tough”.
The MCESD meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi as well as Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.
Last week, the European Commission warned Malta to cut its budget deficit to less than 3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of 2010.
In his interview on the PN’s Radio 101 last Sunday morning, Tonio Fenech said it was true that there were “positive signs which show that the economy has started to slowly recover, but he added “one has to move cautiously”.
“Although the Government does not believe that it should increase the tax burden unnecessarily, the alternative solution is to reduce subsidies. Why should I assist someone to pay a bill he can well afford to?” Fenech asked. “While the government wants to help those in need, it does not want to assist those who are not entitled to,” Tonio Fenech warned.
The social partners that spoke to Business Today were anxious to avoid last year’s experience, with the mishandling of the introduction of the new water and electricity hikes last year, where social dialogue went “sour”, in the words of Union Haddiema Maghqudin (UHM) chief Gejtu Vella.
Reacting to Finance Minister Tonio Fenech’s declaration of a “tough budget” ahead, General Workers’ Union (GWU) chief Tony Zarb warned the Nationalist Government from using the budget deficit to impose more burdens on the people.
“The Government must not forget that the people are already saddled with a lot of burdens, especially with the utility tariffs. The people surely cannot shoulder more burdens on it,” Zarb told Business Today.