07 April 2004

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Mangion says Nationalist government is playing with numbers

The Opposition spokesperson for finance, MLP deputy leader Charles Mangion, has said the recent financial figures quoted by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Gonzi were a confirmation that Government was intent on ‘playing with figures’ to disguise the real financial state of the country.
Reacting to a press conference held by Gonzi in which it was stated that the recent financial figures had been structured to satisfy the Maastricht criteria, Mangion said the figures confirmed that government debt was higher than ever reported by the Nationalist government, and that the structural deficit was in a worse off position than declared in last year’s budget.
“The deficit is Lm175 million when according to Government, this had to be Lm78 million, just more than 9 per cent of the national product. The debt has increased from Lm500,000 every day to Lm1.3 billion in one year.”
Mangion said Government was sending confusing messages with its intention of entering the European Monetary Union, and therefore adopting the Euro currency, when the criteria of acceptance demanded that national debt is no more than 60 per cent of the gross national product, and that the deficit is no more than three per cent of the GNP.
“This means that before we are accepted into the EMU, much work has to be done by the Nationalist government to increase economic growth from its present low levels,” Mangion said.
Mangion also said the MLP was awaiting concrete proposals from government’s side on pensions and other reforms, whilst the party was currently carrying out its own analysis. “The Prime Minister’s declaration to increase pensionable age jars with his declarations as the former Social Policy Minister when he suggested that in every restructuring process both within the drydocks and public companies, skilled workers should leave work at a young age, possibly at 40 or even younger.”
Mangion also drew attention to the appointment of former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami to President of the Republic, where he claimed he had been informed that Government’s choice of Fenech Adami for President was final and conclusive and had left no space for compromise: “It is clear this government, under a new Prime Minister, will continue leading this country with a partisan blindfold instead of in the national interest.”

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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