Labour leader Joseph Muscat claimed that he was not ashamed of acting as Malta’s salesperson in order to attract investment to the country, during a Partit Laburista activity held at Birkirkara party club on Sunday. Muscat spoke at length on the economic model adopted by his government, saying that he was proud that they attracted more foreign investment to the country.
Muscat told those present that he was proud of the administration he led and their achievements; referring to the economic growth registered, saying that it was the reason behind their push for more investment. He described the economic model adopted by the Partit Laburista administration as a means to an end, saying that in order to distribute wealth, one needs to first generate wealth. Further, the Labour leader explained it was useless to discuss schemes when the money to finance such schemes was not available. Inviting those present to look at the countries around them, Muscat claimed while others were opting for protectionism and closed economy models, Malta was embracing the challenges put forward by globalisation, likening the country to a sailor who takes wind into its sails in order to move forward.
The PL leader than moved on to say that one needed to incentive work and that anyone who is capable of working, should then be part of the country’s workforce. The Labour leader spoke at length of women’s participation in the workforce, saying that prior to the introduction of free childcare, the country had an ‘absurd’ situation whereby more women were graduating from the University of Malta, however the numbers of women in the workforce remained abysmal. Calling the program as “revolutionary”, Muscat said that through the program a ‘huge potential’ was unleashed; and that now it was not only professionals who could afford childcare or women in dire financial situations, but every woman could join the workforce. He said that while the program was costly for the government, it was “priceless” in terms of wealth generated.
‘We found a way to ensure pensions’
Muscat observed that unlike what they have been told previously about pensions not being viable, the Government had managed to find a way to ensure pensions without resorting to increasing age of retirement or social security contributions. He said that previous administrations were told that the pension system was not viable both by international agencies and experts. However Muscat noted that this was not the case, and for the first time in 25 years, pensions were increased annually over a period of four years.
‘Foreign workers contributing to taxes, will not qualify for pension’
Muscat said that given the amount of workplaces generated, foreign workers were required to fill in the gaps. He said that such workers were contributing to taxes and social security, however they were fully aware that they will not receive any pensions for their work. Instead Muscat said they were working for Maltese pensioners. Muscat then said those who resist foreign workers and want to “throw them out”, are implying that they ‘do not want to receive their pensions or want to increase social contribution’.
On upcoming elections
The Labour leader started off his speech by thanking all PL Birkirkara local councillors, saying that sometimes the work goes under appreciated. Speaking about the upcoming elections he told those present not to take anything for-granted, saying that the elections have not passed yet and to disregard surveys stressing on the importance on working to achieve a good result in the upcoming elections.