2003 sees ADs economic focus
at par with environment
The 2003 general election manifesto for the Green Party
shows that in its 14 years of existence, a gradual political shift from
radicalism to pragmatic proposals has evolved. This is evident in the
445-proposal manifesto, pointing out an emphasis on economy and finance
as much as on ADs traditional environmental slant.
The environment remains Alternattiva Demokratikas main concern
but green issues have been put into a wider social and economic perspective.
A cursory look at the manifesto shows greater emphasis on the economy,
something previously lacking in AD political discourse. Quality
of life, long the focus of AD, has been meshed in with good health
as well as financial stability, and a GDP gauged by social, environmental
and economic factors.
Shedding its antipathy toward private enterprise, the Green Party talks
about the need to shift the emphasis from an industry that is heavily
dependent on construction and development, to a more export-orientated
The problem as highlighted by the Green Party is one where the economy
is based on too much speculation and construction. This, coupled with
an economy heavily dependent on imports, is usurping financial credit
and thus contributing towards financial instability.
The manifesto argues that the key to the problem is for the private
sector to look beyond Maltas shores. The role of government would
be to assist private enterprise in this change, utilising structures
such as the Institute for Promotion of Small Enterprises.
State and privatisation
AD says that resolving the balance of payments problem, which so far
has resulted in a structural deficit that has dragged on for the past
decade, is a crucial element in ensuring economic stability. The manifesto
proposes turning Malta into an export centre of high social, economic
and environmental standards.
The Green Party envisages the role of the State as that of a regulator,
rather than owner, thus allowing private enterprise to flourish. It
points out that certain state monopolies such as Enemalta are prime
examples of environmental degradation and abuse of consumers rights.
To overcome this problem AD is proposing that health, education, energy
production and other socially important services be administered by
autonomous public agencies subject to independent regulatory authorities.
Advocating liberalisation as a process that benefits consumers, AD is
proposing the removal of age-old monopolies such as port workers, taxis,
public transport, transport between Malta and Gozo and undertakers among
The party also advocates the continuation of the privatisation process,
adding that a substantial part of the income derived from privatisation
should go toward the restructuring of the public sector.
It is also imperative for the Green Party to have a reduced public sector
with a professional management structure. No specific proposals are
given on how the down sizing should take place, but retraining and the
formation of workers co-operatives are floated as two possible
The manifesto also maps out ADs fiscal policy, which proposes
a revision of income tax ceilings for both single and married couples.
Without saying what impact the revisions would have on governments
income, the Green Party argues that single persons should have a non-taxable
ceiling of Lm4,000 (up from Lm3,000) and married persons should have
a non-taxable ceiling of Lm5,000 (up from Lm4,000).
The part-time taxable limit on which a standard 15 per cent rate applies
should also increase from Lm3,000 to Lm4,000. The Green Party argues
that the current ceilings do not reflect todays social realities.