Inclusivity in budget ‘appropriate’ but a question of translating into action – economist

Emphasising inclusivity in the Pre-Budget document is good but it lacks detail and maybe there needs to be a societal change for it to work, economist Dr John Grech tells Newsbook.com.mt.

The economist explained that while it, ‘is most appropriate’ to be discussing inclusiveness, ‘it clearly needs to be translated into concrete action’.

‘The document puts a great deal of stress on it but there is no concrete action that is quantified that is included,’ Dr Grech added.

Dr Grech’s comments come not long after the publication of the Government’s Pre-Budget 2020 document, ‘SUSTAINING INCLUSIVE GROWTH PRE BUDGET DOCUMENT 2020’. The document outlined what the government intends to do over the next financial year. The Budget will be announced next month.

Read more:

Minister Scicluna presents the Pre-Budget Document 2020

Budget 2020 to be announced on 14th October – sources

Going further, the economist explained that the concept would be effective if there was a major change of focus in society. ‘Yes inclusivity should be feasible but it requires a new frame of mind in society – the society’s values have to change in order to give importance and priority to inclusivity rather than just growth!’

Growth not consistent – Dr Stephanie Fabri

Along with comments from Dr Grech, Dr Stephanie Fabri explained that the focus on inclusivity in the Budget was important given the inequality between different sectors and subsequent inconsistencies in wage growth between the services and non-service industries.

‘This means that workers who are employed in service-based industries are likely to benefit much more from economic growth than other workers,’ Dr Fabri explains.

According to data from the National Statistics Office’s ‘Labour Force Survey Q1 2019,’the ‘wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service activities,’ sector, recorded 52,322 employees in the period, earning an average basic salary of €16,379, (slightly higher than the €16,024 in 2018). The sector of ‘Financial and insurance activities’ recorded the highest basic salary of €25,783 (€26,609 in 2018) with 10,108 employees. Second to this, the ‘information and communication’ sector recorded an average basic salary of €22,482 (€22,430 in 2018), with 6,883 employees.

Dr Fabri previously spoke to Newsbook.com.mt about the possible outcomes for a No-Deal Brexit for Malta. She explained that a No-Deal Brexit could affect Maltese tourism and trade but it may also make holidays to the UK cheaper.

No-Deal Brexit could impact Maltese tourism but UK holidays cheaper – economist

The economist and lecturer at the University of Malta said that because of the unequal nature of the economy, the Government’s focus on ‘inclusivity is pertinent at this point in time.’

She added that it was vital that the Maltese economy remained competitive and attractive while treating it like an ecosystem.

‘The feasibility of the budget depends on various elements including our ability to remain competitive as a country, our ability to attract new sectors and also diversify and expand existing ones. Within this context, if we truly want our economy to be sustainable we need to think and discuss and plan in terms of economic ecosystems. Similar to an ecosystem, the economic ecosystem involves a number of interdependent elements such as human talent, different sectors and industries, national financial stability, cultural, social, environmental considerations, banking relationships and regulatory frameworks. All of these elements have to be taken into account when designing policies for inclusivity.’