The Government has implemented 77 per cent of the Budget for 2022, a high-than-average result in the midst of pandemic and war, punctuated by a national election.

The figure was announced during a press conference on Monday (today) addressed by Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana and Principal Permanent Secretary Tony Sultana.

The challenging global economic environment was a common thread running through the speeches of both the Minister and Principal Permanent Secretary, with both expressing satisfaction with the figure.

Mr Sultana, who took over the top job at the civil service on 1st June earlier this year, pointed out that the average over the last nine years stood at 73 per cent, making the proportion of Budget measures implemented over 2022 four percentage points higher than the average.

He said he looked forward to future work, stressing that “modernisation is a question of mentality”.

“Now is the time to be more ambitious and decisive,” he said.

Minister Caruana opened his speech by quoting an Italian news report stating that five million Italians are currently behind on their gas and electricity payments, and estimating that the average household will see an increase of €4,700 in their bills over the year.

“Everything,” he said, “needs to be understood in this context. And next year’s Budget is being formulated with this situation kept well in mind.”

With reference to Italian and German ministers’ predictions that their economies would not grow in 2023, Minister Caruana said: “Malta’s will be growing, and not by a little.”

He added that, had Malta followed other countries’ lead and enacted similar policies, fewer Budget measures would have been implemented.

“While other countries have not been able to protect their citizens from external shocks, we have not only protected our citizens but also improved their standard of living,” claimed the Minister, highlighting a measure related to the way the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is calculated for those on lower incomes. The measure, which he described as “socialist”, is due to come into effect over the coming weeks.

“That is what distinguishes Malta from all the surrounding countries,” he said. “We protect and support our citizens.”

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