26 October 2005

The Web
Business Today

First reactions

Tony Zarb, secretary general GWU
“These are new burdens on workers and pensioners. Compensation should be given to workers and pensioners both for the new increases and the increases announced in October when the price of petrol shot up.
“In the light of declarations made by parliamentary secretary Tonio Fenech in MCESD, the government should also calrify whether it will be introducing new fiscal measures after absorbing 50 per cent of Enemata costs. We are also concerned on the fact that the price of fuel and petrol will be revised on a bi-monthly or monthly basis. In the light of this the government should consider compensating for resulting cost of living increases on a six-month basis. We are also concerned on the impact of these increases on work places relying on petrol and fuel.”

Vince Farrugia, director general GRTU
“Our voice has been heard and the government has listened. We have been insisting that the price of diesel is left untouched. We were ready to take action if the price of diesel increased. The government listened. We also proposed the adoption of the EU directive, which allows stationary equipment to benefit from duty free diesel. The government has listened and this directive will be implemented. We had also been insisting that no new taxes would be introduced and apart from the increase on the duty on petrol, the government has listened to us. We had also insisted that we should not deviate from the Maastricht criteria on the deficit. We had insisted that the average household does not suffer the brunt. If the government sticks to its commitment to compensate households, this will not happen. But the major lesson that should be learnt is that Malta is paying the price of indecision on its purchasing policy. The energy expenditure now amounts to four per cent of our GDP. Had the government embarked on hedging parts of its cost we won’t be paying so dearly.
We augur that the government will involve the private sector in the purchasing committee of Enemalta as businessmen have a greater acumen on purchasing policy than bureaucrats.”

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