12 October 2005

The Web
Business Today

Scicluna’s solutions to stop the folly…

Incredible: Lm15 million in early retirement schemes every year!
Malta is following a doomed European model that has seen a low rate of male participation amongst the 55-64 group due to an annual early retirement pension bill of Lm15 million. Scicluna says increase employment rates: “attempts to camouflage unemployment rate by keeping activity levels low will result in higher tax burdens, higher labour costs for employers, and lower growth”

University students, start paying your way!
Unprecedented anywhere else in the world, Malta devotes some Lm8.3 million to undergraduates and other students who divert these funds “from proper spending into education into conspicuous consumption such as cars, mobiles and entertainment.” If tertiary education can pay, no reason why undergraduates shouldn’t get a soft loan.
Downsize the public sector!
Irrespective of high speed privatisation, government labour force is actually increasing, not least with local government increasing deployment. Reduction through attrition is one of the solutions proposed. Others are targets on manning levels and aggregate wage-bil, but “the pre-budget documents gives neither.”

More studies on social welfare!
Scicluna is surprised that on social security no reference is made to recommendations from completed studies by government in pre-budget document. On pensions he hopes government increases annual contributions, extends pensionable age to 65, but says that occupational pension funds should be given more thought before rushing into them. And finally, on health schemes, Scicluna says it is time for study into health expenditure on the same basis as was made for national pension scheme.

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