Prime Minister Robert Abela said the Government’s decision to freeze the price of electricity and fuel in Malta was “crucial” to the economic growth registered in the first half of 2022.

He was speaking during a live interview that aired on the Labour Party media platform One on Friday, and celebrated the 8.5 per cent GDP growth figure registered for the first half of 2022, saying without the strategic decision to freeze energy prices this would not have been possible.

Dr Abela said he understands there have been questions of sustainability regarding this policy decision, and that there have been valid questions as to whether the Government should rethink the current subsidy it is providing to keep energy prices stable, and pass on some of the increased international energy prices to the people.

He added, however, that just like the COVID wage supplement was a key strategic decision throughout the pandemic to prop-up the economy, the decision to freeze electricity and fuel prices has supported the economy in the same vein.

Dr Abela stressed that the Government’s current energy policy has left businesses with a competitive advantage, and helped to mitigate pressures on the public’s purchasing power, who are being impacted by rising food prices.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that this week, Cabinet agreed on introducing a start-up visa in Malta, which would serve to attract young people with innovative business ideas they wish to commercialise.

The idea of introducing a start-up visa has been floated in the past, however Dr Abela gave indications that concrete moves will begin on this front. He said it would also serve the local business community as new foreign businesses setting up on the island would need to be serviced by local enterprises.

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