Transport Minister Ian Borg last week announced that there will be changes to the Transport Malta set-up.
Transport Malta was established in 2010 to oversee all that has to do with the sector, including aviation, maritime and land transportation.
But the time has come, the minister said at the presentation, that the aviation and maritime segments of the agency are pulled away and placed in an authority solely responsible for them.
One must recall that another authority, known as Infrastructure Malta, was syphoned off Transport Malta in 2017. Since then it has been responsible for the building of roads and their maintenance.
No timeline has been given for the creation of the new authorities. A working group under the headship of Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Azzopardi has been appointed to work on the necessary changes that are needed from a legislative, administrative and industrial point of view. Until the report is finalised and the changes implemented, Transport Malta will remain as it is.
In a nutshell, we are going back to where we were pre-2010, when the maritime sector was governed by the Malta Maritime Authority and aviation was under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Directorate. The reasons for the merging of the responsibilities for land, aviation and maritime 11 years ago are now considered obsolete by this government, which is now seeking a de-merger of the institutions.
Borg did not give an indication as to why this government considers the situation to have changed so much in 11 years as to suggest a return to the past. What he did say is that Transport Malta employees should not be worried about their future – this will be an opportunity, he said, for them to advance in their specific careers.
One has to see what he really means by this. But what is sure is that the setting up of new authorities will only result in more opportunities for the government to place people close to it on boards and committees, with lucrative perks.
We have seen how the Labour government, since taking over in 2013, has mastered the concept of favouritism, giving jobs and positions to people who served it in the past and continue to serve it today. The establishment of more authorities will now increase the number of people needed in directorships. More jobs for people the government wants to award, that is.
It will also increase the number of jobs available in the lower tiers of the administrations – just to give an example, if one secretary is needed for the chairman of a single agency, three secretaries are needed for the chairmen of three authorities. And so on and so forth.
At a time when the private sector is complaining of a shortage of staff in various sectors, mostly as a result of a heavy recruitment exercise by the government, the setting up of more authorities will provide more opportunities to give the government an excuse to employ more people.