02 APRIL 2003

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Alfred Sant is looking at his polls and turning desperate – John Dalli

"He is looking at his polls. He is desperately throwing anything imaginable at the voters to try to lure them to vote for him. We must remember that the last budget included tax cuts that are more far reaching than those being proposed by Alfred Sant.
"These tax cuts have started to be implemented as from 1 January this year," Finance Minister John Dalli told The Malta Financial and Business Times when asked what he thought of Dr Sant’s had proposed a tax holiday.
To the Alfred Sant comment that his intention is to kick start the economy, Mr Dalli responded: "The economy is not kick started with such gimmicks. This one-off will just create bubbles - and very small ones at that. Tax incentives have to be long term so those households can plan their expenditures and their investments - in property, in furniture, etc.
Mr Dalli has said in the clearest of terms that Dr Sant will be providing a saving of Lm5 for those who earn Lm87 per week.
He also said: "This has to be seen against the policy statement made by Dr George Vella, which can only translate into a wage freeze. This loss in wage increases will not be for just one year, but for all following years. It is a very high cost."
The Leader of the Opposition has stated that this fiscal measure would increase economic growth and in doing so he quotes figures of growth which, according to NSO statistics, have already been attained.
Mr Dalli described Alfred Sant’s projections as a pie in the sky.
"His targeted growth is level to what we are experiencing today - even in the midst of international crisis like we had over the past two years. At best, Alfred Sant is projecting zero increased growth. The reality is that with Alfred Sant in Government, our growth will plunge as our international credibility is destroyed and the political risk that will be put on our country will go sky high. Alfred Sant will mean no investment, less employment and pressures of wages - which will in turn impact on a massive pressure on pensions."
Mr Dalli concluded by saying: "The fact that Malta will be with the other nine countries signing the EU treaty in Athens on 16 April provides a certainty that Malta is finally on a set course that will not be challenged again."

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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