Sunday, 31 December 2000

Winners and Losers

The Malta Independent on Sunday

Winners and Losers

The year which will be assigned to history in the next few hours has produced `winners and losers.

The winners are:

Vodafone and Maltacom- for constraining the government to give them a mobile licence on current and prospective technologies free of payment when operators in other countries had to pay through their nose for acquiring such license through transparent competitive bidding.

Richard Cachia Caruana ` for landing the most prominent post in the negotiating team for EU accession which puts him as a front-runner for being nominated as Malta`s first EU Commissioner thus securing his fiefdom in the post EFA era.`

Super One Radio & TV ` for becoming the indisputable leading `media station with the widest audiences as confirmed by the Malta Broadcasting Authority surveys of March and November 2000 ( interest declared).

NET TV ` for landing more advertising revenue from Malta EU Information Centre than Super One even though audiences of NET are much smaller than the audiences of Super One and don`t need much convincing about the benefits of EU membership.

Dr. Lawrence Gonzi ` who has consolidated his position as heir apparent to EFA in spite of John Dalli`s strong challenge `which fizzled out after the 2001 budget first glare was replaced by the reality of its negative impact on the middle class sector of society.

Dr. Alfred Sant ` who has shrugged off without scratch the hideous challenge for his party leadership orchestrated by political opponents and former friends who could not distinguish charlatans from real achievers.

The losers are:

The Maltese people ` who are having to pay taxes through their nose whilst seeing their government missing `opportunities to auction 3G mobile licenses which `are given away for private operators without raising as much as a whimper from the opposition.

Enemalta- who had to carry the full burden of higher oil prices in 2000 thanks to the wisdom of Min Bonnici who refused to hedge the price of oil for year 2000 when he was counselled to do so in the first quarter of 1999 just when the price of oil was hitting rock bottom.

Environment lovers ` who could just watch the problem of power station emissions, waste management and air pollution from congested traffic compound themselves during the year.

Central Bank of Malta and Malta Stock Exchange ` who as Regulators of Malta`s financial structures have shown themselves unworthy of `their national status and incapable of protecting national interest from the `arrogance of the executive.` The Central Bank was incapable of producing a single liner putting the nation`s mind at rest` following repeated and specific accusations` of political pressure in lending `decisions of major government influenced credit institutions.` The Malta Stock Exchange has again behaved like the Minister toy poodle permitting confusion and lack of transparency in the capital markets. Criticism in this sense continues to be ignored rather than rebutted.

We can all be winners in 2001 if we act with single minded purposeness towards clearly defined objectives. The objective is not however membership or special relationship with the EU. That issue can wait definitive settlement at the next general election. The objective is real sustainable economic growth which requires serious re-structuring, substantial re-training and attraction of new direct investment. This needs a national effort which should be achievable if the secondary EU issue is put aside and `subordinated to much more urgent priorities.

If this country can act together and focus its energies `on the issues which unite us through consensus rather than prioritise things which divide us needlessly we can all be winners in 2001. Yet it looks like the stage is set for wasting another year in the history of this young country `chipping `away its credentials for a sovereign statehood.` It is time to shift from sovereign `symbols such as having five national holidays to sovereign of economic sustainability. .

Alfred Mifsud

No comments:

Post a Comment