The pandemic has cost the country €1,500 million over two years

Minister for Finance Clyde Caruana said the forthcoming Budget will again be free of taxation but will address tax evaders.

Presenting a pre-Budget document to social partners, Minister Caruana said the Budget will focus on various sectors, among them the environment as well as economic development living levels, among others.

He explained that despite the difficulties of the pandemic it is being forecast the country will register economic growth and this will be reflected in the Budget theme “what kind of country do you want your children to inherit?” He said this is a positive theme although not necessarily the best one during this legislature.

Minister Caruana said the pandemic has cost the country €1.5 billion over almost two years but an expense that has been utilised for necessities. Despite this the country’s economic structure remained intact and strong. He announced that economic growth next year will greatly exceed the economic growth of other EU Member Countries with the Maltese economy expected to grow by 6.8% next year while the national deficit is expected to decrease by 5.6%.

He said the most important aspect is that when the country entered the pandemic period the country’s finances were strong and he will work to ensure that in the coming years these will continue to remain strong as will the living quality of the country’s families.

Minister Caruana said the country’s National Debt will remain under control and is expected to remain at 65% in contrast to some EU member Countries where it has exceeded 100%.

He announced that a new employment policy will be launched a week before the Budget and the Government will present its vision for the coming nine years with measures sustained by resources.

Minister Caruana said the environment will be one of the main columns of the Budget but pensions will also be addressed and the health sector will increase the number of medicines available from the Government. Male and female differences in wage levels will also be addressed. The Budget will not address an increase of school-leaving from 16 to 18 because this requires a detailed plan. However, it will include further training for employees.

He said the community is expecting better and the Budget will emphasise economic development, a better quality of life and a better social and environmental sector. Minister said the Government can provide this because it has the resources but he once more emphasised that tax evasion has to come to an end.