In an attempt to explain why revenue projections from the Shipyards privatisation have been omitted from Budget 2009, the Finance Ministry has raised further questions.
“These projections have been left out for one simple reason,” a Ministry official told Business Today. “We don’t want to show our hand to prospective investors.”
Since last week, many have questioned the reasons why Finance Minister Tonio Fenech opted out from revealing how much government is expected to make or lose from the Shipyards’ privatisation, especially when one takes into account that the €100 million owed to the state by the shipyards do not feature either.
Since revenue or losses generated from this sale are expected to significantly affect the country’s economic performance next year, many could only guess why such crucial information has not been made public.
A Business Today reader calling in said: “It’s obvious, government wants to give its electorate a surprise when the money from the sale comes in. Since it is technically unplanned for, this money would help Fenech show the electorate that he wasn’t far off from his ambitious budget projections. There is a clear political motivation.”
Some went as far as doubting whether there are any prospective investors at all for the Shipyards, while others claimed that the value at which the company is sold may not even make up for its debts, and the end result would effectively feature as a loss.
“None of this,” said the Ministry spokesperson when informed about such speculations. “We don’t want to prejudice the process, so we can get the best deal.”
With the Finance Minister still laying out his projections on other deals, such as the privatisation of the Msida Marina, many are now asking why he opted to prejudice one deal and not the other.