31 OCTOBER 2001
By Miriam Dunn
The combined cost of the public sector pay roll and social services constitutes almost 70% of total public expenditure, according to the Finance minister, John Dalli.
Speaking in an interview which will be published next week in a new magazine Economic Update, coming out with this newspaper, Mr Dalli admitted that it "hurt" to see these figures on paper.
At present, social security payments make up 46% of the total of government expenditure, while the pay roll accounts for a further 22% - two figures which the Finance minister described as "bulky".
The Finance minister said that one way of reducing public expenditure was the better utilisation of the public sector complement.
"The concept of public, private partnership which we have promoted for some time is an example of this," he said.
On the subject of the pay roll, Mr Dalli conceded that although the number of names on it was dropping, through measures already being taken, but the price was getting higher.
"This situation needs to be revised," he admitted. "It must be understood that wage increases must be fair and reflect the real picture."
But he stressed that the problems stemming from manpower were not necessarily as acute as those relating to social services.
"We need to make inroads here, and I am not talking in a superficial sense," he said. "We need to introduce certain disciplines in the social services structure, which will ensure that the flow of expenditure in this sector is commensurate with the flow of revenue."