PN finance spokesman Mario de Marco questioned whether the government could meet budget targets in the coming years in parliament this evening, warning that an economic slowdown may impact government revenues.
Speaking during debate on the Budget Measures Implementation Bill, Dr de Marco said that signs of an economic slowdown were already apparent early last year, months before the culmination of a political crisis that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He said that this was most evident in sectors such as construction, property and retail, and added that an atmosphere of uncertainty was also affecting financial services.
He stressed that this was due to international as well as local factors.
The MP also said that another source of funding for capital projects – EU funds – was set to decrease in the near future, highlighting that Malta was benefiting from an allocation of €1.2 billion in EU funds under the EU’s 2014-2020 programming period. Back then, Malta had qualified for Objective 1 funding as a “less developed” country, but that is no longer expected to apply in the next funding period.
However, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri appeared not to share these concerns, highlighting instead that Malta’s economy had doubled between 2012 and 2019, and noting that many investment projects were being approved.
He also insisted that while there had been a period of uncertainty, “we’re all convinced that this period has already passed.”