Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 October, 2023 at 1:35 pm by Andre Camilleri
The cost of living adjustment for 2024 will be €12.81 per week, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said Tuesday.
The expenditure on pensions will be rising by €100 million a year as a result, given that pensioners receive the COLA in full.
The government, he told a business breakfast organised by Times of Malta, will continue to invest €350 million to subsidise energy and fuel, but admitted that such a subsidy cannot continue to be given for eternity.
He said that the budget for 2024, to be presented Monday, will sustain the lower sectors of society. But there is no agreement yet on an increase in the minimum wage.
Caruana acknowledged that tensions over the massive influx of third-country nations risked reaching breaking point.
Malta cannot keep importing foreign labour at the rate it has been doing in the past years, he said, hinting at plans to introduce financial incentives for higher-value sectors.
“We need to strike a balance between what the business community needs, and what people expect,” he said. “But it cannot keep going as it has been going in the past few years, full stop.”
That change would take time, he added, and people should not expect any significant changes over the short and medium term as any dramatic, sudden shifts risked grounding the economy to a halt.
The minister also made a reference to the possibility of cartels controlling local markets.
“The size of the local market is what it is, and that therefore introduces a problem with competition,” he said. “The problem is across the board.”
Some of that problem might stem from “greed inflation” – companies raising prices to bump up their profit margins – but he noted that the problem is not a uniquely Maltese one.