In the first three years of the current legislature, 76% of the pledges included in the electoral manifesto have been implemented or are in an advanced stage of implementation. This was announced by the Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela responsible for the implementation of the Electoral Manifesto during a press conference in the Auberge de Castille. The conference commemorated the third anniversary since the Maltese elected their government in the general election which took place on the 3rd of June 2017.
Minister Abela explained that the electoral manifesto programme consists of 722 pledges. He announced that 312 pledges have been entirely implemented whilst more than 242 proposals are currently at an advanced stage of implementation.
Honourable Abela stated that it was a privilege to him to be able to publicly present – in a transparent and open manner – the work which was carried out by the dynamic and diligent team which makes up the government under the leadership of the ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat throughout the first two years and now under the leadership of the current Prime Minister Robert Abela.
Minister Abela recalled how, as of January 2020, as Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, he was trusted with the scrutiny of the work related to the Electoral Manifesto. He stated that his responsibilities include the close monitoring of the hundreds of pledges which were included in the electoral programme prior to the previous general election. He went on to explain that this requires constant contact and communication with all the ministries in order to allow for the evaluation of the stages of implementation these measures would be at. The minister within the Office of the Prime Minister is also responsible for stepping in to assist with the challenges which certain ministries may face when implementing the measures falling under their remit. He expressed his satisfaction in the rate of improvement, of at least 8%, in the rate of implementation of the electoral manifesto during these past four months.
“The evidence that this government has continued to deliver is not just theoretical but is also clear through the tangible results yielded in all sectors”, said Minister Abela, going on to provide a list of the various measures implemented in several sectors.
Minister Abela added that social commitment is still a priority for government. He explained how the minimum wage increased following an agreement between the social partners. Minimum wage has also become non-taxable. Government has also introduced a refund of tax on income for all employees.
Pensioners have also benefited from the implementation of electoral proposals. This segment within the population has enjoyed an increase in pensions for the first time in over 20 years. Government has also strengthened incentives for first-time and second-time property buyers in order to facilitate ownership. For the benefit of those renting property, Government introduced legislation aimed at providing a fair and regulated relationship between tenants and landlords.
Minister Abela said that government had also promised new buildings for those in need of an accommodation but who do not have the necessary means to acquire property. He said that works are currently ongoing to make at least 1,700 apartments available (over 600 apartments more than originally planned). At the same time, renovation works are ongoing in a number of housing estates together with lift installation works.
He also spoke about the ongoing works which aim at making the Maltese public infrastructure better, with a hefty investment of 700 million euro to build and fix roads all over Malta and Gozo in the span of 7 years.
Minister Carmelo Abela also pointed out the work in the education sector, where a collective agreement – which was signed with the MUT – has provided educators with an increase in wage which was significantly higher than any other such raise provided throughout previous administrations. Government has also given parents peace of mind by providing free school transport for all, whilst reducing uniform prices, and also making Matsec and Sec examinations free of charge.
There has been extensive work carried out in the health sector to achieve the current status of having one of the best health services in the world free of charge. This has yielded successful results with improvements in heart care services, breast cancer and prostate screening, an increase in free medicine, the extension of primary health care services in Ħal Kirkop and, very soon, in Raħal Ġdid and a better service for those going through IVF procedures.
Minister Abela also noted the significant work in Gozo. He mentioned the opening of a depot for farmers and the opening of the prestigious Barts Medical School which has welcomed foreign students towards the end of last year. Another major project is the construction of the tunnel linking Malta and Gozo where geological studies and other research have been initiated together with an international call for expressions of interest.
The Minister responsible for the implementation of the Electoral Manifesto also noted other main achievements such as the reinforcement of the disciplined forces for more security in the country as well as a stronger technological presence in the court’s systems. Other measures which have contributed to make people’s life better include the introduction of marriage equality, the VOTE16, and the possibility of cremation which is now regulated by law. “These changes all reflect the progressive vision of government, which has been known to promote new ideas”, said the minister.
Minister Abela also made reference to the major changes implemented in favour of the betterment of the rule of law and transparency. Examples would be the laws introduced by government which allow high-level appointments to be scrutinised by Parliament, the code of ethics through the appointment of a Commissioner for Standards, the separation of powers in the Attorney General’s office and the appointment of the Police Commissioner.
He concluded that government remains committed towards implementing the Electoral Manifesto, so as to make a difference in the life of people and improve the quality of life for Maltese and Gozitans.