Government setting up Employability Index – Prime Minister Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that bureaucracy is one of the main priorities of the present administration. He said that the civil service, while having several good employees, justify bureaucracy. He said that running from one entity to another is counter-productive and needs to be minimised. He pinpointed hospital and the Law Courts as particular offenders. He said that the Commissioner for Bureaucracy, Dr Michael Falzon, is a workhorse and, being a methodical and disciplined person will arrive at the desired simplification of bureaucracy. A simplified bureaucracy, said the Prime Minister, strengthens accountability. It may take more than one legislature, warned the PM, in his Sunday interview on One Radio, but, he said, it will be a strong start. Referring to the Simplification website, Dr Muscat said that this has allocation where civil servants may suggest simplification of procedures.

Turing his gaze onto employment statistics, Prime Minister said that over the past five months, unemployment has, almost consistently decreased. This, he said, marks a positive signal being sent to the economy. He referred to the proposed fish hatchery expression of interest, indicating that this is an area where jobs will be created. He said that the aim of government is that all those who really want to work, will find work. He said that mis-matches will still exist and precarious employment will be eradicated. He warned that employers seeking loopholes to re-introduce precarious employment that they will be stopped. He reiterated his belief that skilled manufacturing can provide a career, disavowing the idea that factories in Malta are closing down. He said that students need more guidance on the choices that are available to them. On this aspect, Prime Minister said that work is being carried out on the formulation of an employability index, indicating to the student the potential of finding a job with the study choices made. He said that the reduction of the utility bills should result in the employment of more Maltese youths in tourism, given that many employees in the service levels of tourism are taken on by foreign workers.

Referring to the Oil Procurement Scandal, PM Muscat said that he was awaiting the finalisation of the police investigations so that those responsible should pay. He said that those responsible for what he termed as scandalous mismanagement of millions of euros in public funds. He said that the Nationalist Party has to shoulder responsibility for those involved, particularly persons such as Dr Austin Gatt who were the ministers responsible. The silence from the PN, said Dr Muscat, has been deafening and the PN leader has to speak up. He said that in the oil procurement area, steps for surveillance and vigilance have been introduced to include people like former PN Minister Michael Falzon. He said that these steps were taken before the audit report was issued and before the police investigation was concluded.

Prime Minister Muscat said that the energy plan is on track and the bills will be reduced in March 2014 for residents and in the following year for industry. He noted that this has now been taken for granted and no one seems to be questioning its viability anymore. He said that while government is focussed on reducing the utility bills, the Opposition is trying to stop the people from achieving these fruits.

On the issue of immigration, Dr Muscat said that the solution lies in a tri-partite agreement between Italy-Libya-Malta. He said that government is motivated by the nation

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