20 FEBRUARY 2002

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The local council campaign and their future

There does not to seem to be an end to the burlesque antics by the Nationalist party in Zebbug. The spectacle has reached farcical proportions and we disagree with the political strategy chosen by the PN. The Nationalist party should not be too surprised if the electoral turnout at the next local council elections is low. John Citizen is sick and tired of this charade.

The name of the game for the PN is to win the Zebbug district at all costs, Zebbug has traditionally represented a very fragile duopoly. The PN cannot afford to lose Zebbug again.
The Zebbug focus has been purposely created to divert attention from the home truths regarding many local councils.

The PN’s giving flak to Charles Buhagiar – a Labour deputy and consultant at Zebbug - is misguided as most political councils look to employing their party faithful when it comes to the choice of people.

Just look at the way tenders are given out for the cleaning of streets, the choice of legal officers and many other situations.

The local councils are a great idea but they have also uplifted nepotism and institutionalised it on a local level.

The party faithful continue to believe that the local councils are the only solution to running the localities we live in. This is only partly true and the local councils can only attain their goals if they have the funds to operate.

As things stand, the local councils continue to depend on state funds to carry out their mini electoral pledges.

The state funds are restricted and fail to cover many of the projects envisaged for the locality. Some localities, such as Rabat and Naxxar, also have a rather extensive rural area to cater for.

The solution is very simple: one has to think of new ways of raising revenue from the locality.

Unfortunately, on this point there is an impasse since the Labour party obliges its councillors to desist from proposing any new local taxes.

This utopian, or better still electoral, gimmick denotes a complete disregard for the economic realities required for managing a local council.

To take one example, several localities have a large number of private housing units that cover exaggerated surface areas and are valued at hundreds of thousands and yet the proprietors of these households give nothing in terms of extra revenue for the locality.

Once again, everyone enjoys a free meal. But no one seems to be willing to pay for it.


Seeking alliances
It remains unclear why the national airline – which is not in an extremely good shape – shuns the idea of forming a permanent alliance with other airlines. All over the world airlines are facing serious problems.

To sustain the full brunt of the crisis faced by the airline industry.

We need to seek an alliance that could serve as a helpline for the future of the airline and its employees. As things stand, the airline appears to continue to survive at the expense of the Maltese taxpayer.

 



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