Addressing a Press Conference to launch the 2021 Pre-Budget Document, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that while the Government will continue to register a deficit in 2021, there is no plan to increase taxes in the upcoming Budget, which is due to be announced in October. Finance Minister also said that the document will be presented to the Social Partners later on today in the MCESD meeting.
“Six years of unprecedented economic growth left our country well prepared for a possible external economic shock, while four years of consecutive fiscal surpluses and a declining National debt burden put the Government in a solid financial position to weather a crisis.”
It is with these words that the Pre-Budget Document, entitled, Towards as Sustainable Economy kicks off its Foreword.
“This will not be a budget which will be held in normal times, and I think that the Government and Civil Society need to show their ability to deal with a crisis,” Professor Scicluna said, adding that, “we have had scenarios in the past which were due to financial crises, but we were never faced with a situation similar to the pandemic.”
He said that in the past 7 years, the Government was working towards eliminating the deficit, and towards strengthening the economy in preparation to whatever would arise. He said that it is for this reason that the Government was prepared for when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit.
“Despite this, the government cannot spend everything mindlessly, and it has to prioritise,” Prof Scicluna said.
The Minister said that the budgetary measures will be governed by five principles on which the Government’s economic vision rests. The first principle is that of good governance. He said that in the coming year, the Government will continue implementing measures and reforms which strengthen the rule of law, the regulatory and supervisory authorities and the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The second principle will be that of ensuring that economic growth translates into a higher quality of life for all citizens. Investing in education, which is key to sustaining medium to long term economic growth, is the third principle governing the Government’s vision for the future.
The fourth principle is that of continuing upgrading Malta’s infrastructure through the ongoing investments in roads, transport and technology. The final principle is that of achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 with intermediary goals being set every ten years.
“This will ensure that the environment, which is crucial for achieving sustained economic growth and a better quality of life, is indeed prioritised,” he said.
On the current situation, Prof Scicluna said that a balance needs to be struck between health and economic wellbeing, saying that the measures which have to be implemented, need to safeguard public health, jobs and the economy.
You can read the full document by CLICKING HERE.