The Justice and Peace Commission welcomes
the 2022 Budget, recognising the challenging times our country and the world
have faced and will continue to face in the near future. The Commission is here
offering its view in the light of the “Beyond GDP” initiative, launched in
2020, which promotes the need for our country to reorient our economic model
towards a more holistic and sustainable vision.
Several of the initiatives presented in
the budget reward those who want to work more. The Commission is deeply
concerned about the effect this will have on individuals and families, and on how
this will impact the work-life balance of workers.
The Commission welcomes a much-needed
emphasis on the need to safeguard and promote our country’s fiscal morality. Justice and fairness demand that everyone pays
his tax dues. This includes not only the general public
but also the political parties and big businesses. Authorities
must also ensure that each euro people pay in taxes is given a fair return. To
this end, there is an urgent need to increase transparency and accountability in
the use of public funds.
Free public transport
The Commission welcomes the introduction
of free public transport. This measure will hopefully encourage more people to
shift from private vehicles to public transport. The
Commission notes however that this initiative will be
severely impaired if not accompanied by other measures
aimed at increasing the punctuality, capacity and reliability of buses.
The Commission notes with satisfaction
that the budget outlines a number of initiatives which target the disposable
income of vulnerable groups, especially pensioners. These include a new
mechanism to help those with a low income who are being disproportionately
affected by the rising cost of basic essentials such as food. It is hoped that
this measure will adequately address the long-standing problem of a decent
Regarding the Corradino Correctional
Facility, the Commission welcomes the announcement of the setting up of a rehabilitation
centre. However, this has to be accompanied by radical reforms that prioritise
the dignity of prisoners, their families and the victims.
When it comes to immigration, the
Commission expresses its disappointment that, once again, asylum seekers are
primarily considered as a ‘burden’. The budget claims that Malta has managed to
reduce the number of new arrivals by striking deals with Libya. Given the
horrific documented abuses committed against asylum seekers in Libya, such
deals should immediately be suspended and put under review. Regarding the
announced closure of the Marsa Open Centre, unfortunately, no details were
given about where the residents currently living there will be accommodated and
about the setting up of adequate alternative facilities to welcome asylum
The budget contains a number of positive
initiatives when it comes to environmental sustainability. However, the
transition to a truly sustainable future involves tough decisions which have
yet to be taken. For example, whilst promising investment in charging
infrastructure for electric cars, no cut-off date to ban the importation of
polluting petrol and diesel cars was announced. And the promised woodland in Inwadar,
Marsascala, can never make up for the loss and destruction which the proposed
yacht marina project in the same locality would bring about.
A good budget?
In the opinion of the Commission, a budget
is ‘good’ if it manages to deliver a decent standard of living for everyone,
whilst respecting our environmental limits. It shouldn’t be primarily about the
number of economic handouts, which although important, do not necessarily lead
to an improvement of the overall quality of life we lead. As
outlined above, whilst the 2022 Budget
presents a number of positive initiatives in this direction,
the Commission eagerly awaits the effective implementation of the announced
measures in the hope that what lies at the heart of our
society’s economic strategy is the common good of all which prevails over short term personal
Click here to read the reaction in full by the Justice and Peace Commission.