The Budget for next year, which the Finance Minister is expected to present to Parliament next month, is part of the Government’s recovery plan to address the problems caused by the devastating COVID-19 virus.
According to the Pre-Budget Document that has just been published, all incentives are aimed at ensuring a speedy recovery of all economic sectors and to return to a robust economic growth level.
The Government, in its pre-budget document, outlined 10 different priority areas for the upcoming budget, which are as follows:
Sustaining existing Economic Sectors; Strengthening the New Technology Sectors; Enhancing Economic Growth in Gozo; Education, Employment and Quality Life for All; Social Welfare and the Communities; National Security and Foreign Affairs; Protecting and Preserving the Environment; Continue Upgrading the Infrastructure; Collaboration with the Constituted Bodies; Governance, Rule-of-Law and Combatting Financial Crime
The document says the Government will be drafting the vision for the Maltese economy for the next decade as well as a three-year strategy. In addition, a seven-year investment programme to the tune of €400 million is also expected to be launched.
The needs of small and medium sized enterprises will be studied, and a framework aimed at attracting start-ups will be put in place. Also, new investment opportunities will be sought.
Stress is expected to be laid on a shift towards a circular economy.
Apart from strengthening Air Malta, the Government says it has made plans to take more measures to stimulate tourism growth.
The Pre-Budget Document says that a Building and Construction Authority will be set up.
The Government, according to the document, is planning to implement “several” AI-related projects and will strive to reap the benefits the esports and video game development industries can offer. It also views Quantum and High-performance computing as areas for potential future investment.
Initiatives will be taken to boost and benefit from the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
The Government says it will continue to focus on enhancing economic growth in Gozo and stress will continue to be made to ensure education, employment and a good quality of life for all.
Measures are expected to be implemented to strengthen social welfare and assist local communities. The Census of Population and Housing, which is carried out every 10 years, will be held on 10th October 2021.
Under the heading National Security and Foreign Affairs, the Pre-Budget Document says that the police will be reformed with the implementation of the transformation strategy. When referring to illegal migration, the document acknowledges that Malta continues to face significant challenges and says that it is exploring other effective solutions aimed at reducing the number of people who risk their live at sea.
Malta will be officially launching a campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2023-2024.
The country is expected to successfully absorb the available EU funds by the end of this year. The Government managed to secure a record €2.250 billion package for Malta for the next seven years.
The document explains that the Government’s vision for well-being creates opportunities, builds a strong green economy and meets the needs of generations to come. It plans to adopt the European Green Deal as a roadmap to transform Malta into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy.
The Government committed to the development of a national strategy for sustainable development.
Upgrading the infrastructure remains one of the Government’s commitments. New initiatives, the document says, will include the regeneration of Valletta and its coastline.
Clean transport initiatives promoting the use of less polluting vehicles and to encourage more use of public transport “will be in the offing”.
Plans are also underway to exploit the potential of the Grand Harbour through the regeneration of the different sites of the harbour to maximise its economic potential.
The Pre-Budget Document also speaks of collaboration with the constituted bodies and reiterates the Government’s commitment to continue strengthening and promoting good governance and the rule of law. “These priorities underscore the important roles that these two areas have in ensuring national stability, trust in institutions and economic growth,” it says.
The Commissioner for Revenue is expected to be given more powers of investigation and will be allowed to share information with other institutions involved in the fight against tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes.
In conclusion, the document notes that all the initiatives and measures taken will be governed by the Government’s economic vision, which is based on the five main principles of good governance, higher quality of life for all, education to sustain growth, better infrastructure and a carbon neutral economy by 2050 for sustainable long-term growth.