15 August 2001

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Special editorial comment

Why the Commissioner of Police should temporarily withdraw from his post

The pluses in privatisation

The imminent privatisation of the Lotto department is good news. Privatisation is good news because it equals a lesser burden for the state and therefore less pressure on the tax payer.
The running of many government services is the main concern of any present and future government. It goes without saying that privatisation will allow for an immediate influx of cash but it will also mean that the salaries and running of the services will be delegated to he private sector.

This must be clear in the privatisation drive. The government must be careful not to allow for any bad long terms deals. In the case of the lotto department one can see a long term agreement that will benefit the state and furthermore rake in a regular income from the issuing of the licence.

This, minus the salaries and output for such a department, should serve as a welcome plus.
A final word, the state should ensure that the newcomers are also committed to offering a small but reasonable sum to a philan- thropic or worthwhile cause.

The boom and doom in the tech market

The boom and doom in the tech equity market has led many to doubt the validity of investing in the stock market. Many investment agencies have been suffering from a backlash.

The present scenario has opened our eyes to the issue of who exactly is promoting such investment and the long-term view in tech stocks.

The new economy took a blow, but it will be back.

But it is a highly volatile market where the losers take all.

Here in Malta we also have had our fair share of tech falls.

We saw Maltacom shares rise to Lm3.24 in February 2000 and then drop to Lm1.60 in the last few days. More than a 50% drop.

Many Maltese investors experienced this fall first hand and now are wary of looking favourably at the stock exchange. Indeed, one cannot blame them.

What is needed is a new brand of investors and analysts who can instil new impetus and trust in the market.

In the US, market investor analysts have been experiencing litigation suits when it was discovered that they had a conflict of interest in the selling and buying of shares.

This is not going to be easy.

Some Maltese investment agencies have practised this ‘unethical’ habit without any fear of retribution.

The Malta Stock Exchange can also contribute here by encouraging companies to be more transparent and forthcoming in their accounting systems – apart from accepting more scrutiny in the dealings by the directors of the company.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt