Sociologist, Local Councillor, Politician from Malta
MEP Candidate - Partit Nazzjonalista (EPP).

Monday, August 27, 2018

Refunding utility bills? Michael Briguglio


Before parliamentary business stopped for a summer recess, Energy Minister Joe Mizzi announced that a review process on utility bills would be taking place. 
Many people expect a fair deal with respect to the more frequent and costlier utility bills they are receiving.  Public knowledge of this situation has been in place at least since 2017, when a court case was opened by two consumers on the method used by ARMS to calculate energy consumption.
Some months ago, some experts raised awareness on this matter and consequently civil society took up this issue through the ‘Up in ARMS’ campaign. In the meantime, the Nationalist Party and the independent media ensured that the illegal billing system becomes an issue of national importance.
Maltese law clearly states that such bills should be based on “a consumption tariff based on a cumulative consumption per annum”, but what is actually in place is a bimonthly billing system with accumulating interest rates and threats to remove consumers off the grid if they do not pay. The system is controlled by government monopoly Enemalta which employs ARMS – another monopoly – to issue the bills.
By now, many readers are aware of the way the billing system is robbing them. Indeed, every two months they are being cheated out of yearly quotas through bills which are split up into shorter periods, meaning that consumers quickly start to pay at much higher rates than the promised 10c5. Annual quotas of tariffs of 2,000 units at 10c5 and 4,000 units at 12c9 are being cut up into smaller quotas within actual bills.
Therefore, if one’s consumption is within the total annual quota, one can end up receiving bills at higher bands. Some consumers are paying at rates six times higher because of this system – at over 60c per kwh. Should the current system have been in conformity with the law, consumers whose consumption is within the total annual quota would be refunded for extra payments – as is the case with Malta’s tax system.
It is also pertinent to note that many households are also being deprived of their eco-reduction. A family of five and a single resident both get the same 2,000 units at 10c5. But whereas the former used to get a discount if consumption is within an annual quota, this too can be lost with the method currently in place.
In the meantime, ARMS is also profiting through the bi-monthly billing system through a strong cashflow from payments and interests at the expense of consumers. The least it can do is return extra payments to consumers.
The current billing system also features other problems, such as the fact that many tenants are paying domestic rates rather than residential rates, resulting in higher bills, and photovoltaic generation of energy which is not being registered.
All of the above favour ARMS at the expense of the consumer. Larger families, pensioners and people living in rented property, including thousands of foreigners, are the worst off, yet the government is dragging its feet.
Indeed, the Regulator for Energy and Water Services and the Malta Competition and Consumers Affairs Authority have been conspicuous by their absence on the whole matter. Compare this to the latter’s immediate public statement regarding the increase in the price of pastizzi.
The situation is clear, but the public is being given either scant information or vague promises of a government review. The least the government can do at this stage is declare that it will refund people who have been cheated, and subsequently state the exact amount once individual household workings have been finalised.
Failing this, further action will have to be resorted to through existing legal and political avenues. One hopes that the situation is resolved sooner rather than later and that the billing system in place is not being used to finance the government’s non-transparent dealings in the purchase and generation of energy.
In the meantime, cost of living in Malta keeps increasing. Fuel is the latest example: Again, a government monopoly is involved, and its financial situation is lacking transparency.  

Q & A mal-gażżetta Illum





Din l-intervista deheret fl-Illum, 26 ta' Awwissu 2018

Il-Partit Nazzjonalista bħalissa jinsab ‘on a low’ wara l-konklużjonijiet tal-inkjesta Egrant filwaqt li l-PN jinsab maqsum. Ma taħsibx li din is-sitwazzjoni mhix tajba għall-pajjiż? Ma taħsibx li sitwazzjoni ta’ Gvern mingħajr opppożizzjoni b’saħħitha hija ta’ detriment għal pajjiżna?


Biex l-oppożizzjoni tkun b’saħħitha jeħtieġ li tkun viċin in-nies u li tkun maqgħuda internament. Dwar ta’ l-ewwel, il-Partit qiegħed kontinwament jagħmel outreach lejn is-soċjeta’, fejn qiegħed jisma iktar milli jippriedka. Dwar tat-tieni, jeħtieġ li kulħadd jirrispetta d-demokrazija u d-diversita’ interna. Fl-istutturi tal-partit din teżisti, u jeħtieġ li kull min hu attiv jirrispetaha.

Diversi nies, sezzjoni li qed tikber, tħoss li l-ambjent jinsab taħt attakk speċjalment mill-industrija tal-kostruzzjoni. Dawn in-nies għalfejn għandhom jagħżlu lill-PN? Il-PN x’qed joffri differenti mill-PL? Kif se tikkonvinċi lil dawn in-nies li l-PN jimpurtah mill-wirt naturali ta’ pajjiżna, iktar mill-PL?


Preżentament l-ambjent hija waħda mill-prioritajiet fil-PN, u flimkien mat-tmexxija jien qiegħed naħdem ħafna f’dan ir-rigward. Filwaqt li il-PL qiegħed joffri politika li tkabbar l-ekonomija llum b’danni ambjentali kbar u b’nuqqas ta’ rispett lejn il-futur, il-PN jemmen li għandna nkabbru l-ekonomija b’mod iktar ippjanat u sostenibbli. L-uniku alternattiva parlamentari għall-politika tal-PL hija dik tal-PN, u bil-fatti ser nuru l-pjanijiet tagħna sabiex il-poplu jkun jista’ jiġġudika.
Inti kont tmexxi l-Alternattiva Demokratika u illum timmilità fil-PN. Kieku int ma kontx Michael Briguglio imma persuna oħra, kont tivvutalu lil Michael Briguglio jew kont tagħżel lil xi ħadd li dejjem kien Nazzjonalist? Għaliex iva/le?

Lil Michael Briguglio kont nivvutalu għaliex bħala MEP ser ikun attiv kemm f’Malta kif ukoll f’Brussel sabiex ikun viċin il-Maltin u verament jirrapreżentahom fil-Parlament Ewropew. Kont nivvutalu għax juri kif tista’ tkun ħolqa bejn in-nies, is-soċjetà ċivili, l-istituzzjonijiet u l-Unjoni Ewropea. F’dawn l-aħħar 25 sena kien attiv b’rieda tajba, b’mod integru u konsistenti fis-soċjeta’ ċivili u l-politika.  Matul dawn is-snin wera li leħen is-soċjetà ċivili jista' jkun b'saħħtu u qawwi. Kien attiv f'bosta kampanji li rnexxew, bħal dawk għas-sħubija fl-UE, kwistjonijiet relatati mal-ħarsien tal-ambjent, drittijiet ċivili bħad-divorzju u l-istipendji tal-istudenti kif ukoll kwistjonijiet lokali fir-rwol tiegħu ta' kunsillier lokali mill-2003. Tkellem dwar issues bħall-governanza tajba, id-drittijiet tal-ħaddiema u l-pensjonanti u d-drittijiet tar-residenti. Kont nivvutalu għax jgħidha kif inhi u ma’ jħallix il-partiġġjaniżmu jtappanlu l-veduti tiegħu. Li hu iswed jgħidlu iswed u li hu abjad jgħidlu abjad. Kont nivvutalu għax jirrapreżenta l-valuri tas-solidarjetà, il-ġustizzja, id-dinjità u s-sostenibbiltà. Fuq kollox qatt ma kien baħri tal-bnazzi, u dejjem leħħen it-tħassib tan-nies b'mod sensibbli.

Numru ta’ Nazzjonalisti (inċidentalment ħafna minn Tas Sliema u ż-żona) ma jridux jafu b’Adrian Delia. Kemm qed tiltaqa’ ma’ dawn il-votanti? Imma dawn għandhom raġun?


Iva niltaqa’ ma votanti b’din l-opinjoni u dejjem nisma’ dak li għandhom x’jgħidu. Nemmen li permezz ta’ djalogu, rieda tajba u rispett lejn il-proċess demokratiku nistgħu inkunu maqgħudin. Qed niltaqa’ ukoll ma’ oħrajn madwar Malta li għandhom inqas vuċi fil-media iżda li fil-kwiet jiftħu qalbhom dwar x’jaħsbu dwar il-Partit Nazzjonalista u li qed japprezzaw kif Adrian Delia qed imur għandhom biex jisma’.  
Tidħol għand familja Nazzjonalista biż-żewġ membri jkunu nisa, li issa grazzi għall-bidliet li daħħal dan il-Gvern fil-liġi tal-IVF se jkollhom ċans isiru ġenituri. Kif se tikkonvinċiehom li l-PN għamel sew li vvota kontra?


Il-PN kien il-partit li daħħal l-IVF. Il-PN ried iktar konsultazzjoni wiesgħa sabiex it-tibdil fil-liġi ikun iktar bil-għaqal u bbażat fuq evidenza.  
Tidħol għand familja tan-neozju. In-negozju sejjer tajjeb u qed jikru appartament, b’kirja tajba ħafna. Qegħdin komdi, iktar milli kienu. Għalfejn għandhom jappoġġjaw lill-PN dawn?


Il-PN kien il-partit li daħħal is-suq tal-kera, u l-partit jappoġġja lil min jaqla l-flus b’mod onest. Fl-istess ħin il-PN irid jgħin lil min mhux jaffordja l-kirjiet. Dan jista’ jsir mingħajr ma tixxekkel ir-rota ekonomika u d-dħul ta’ min jikri.
Tidħol f’dar ta’ kaċċatur jew nassab u jgħidlek ‘jien x’nivvota nagħmel jekk il-kaċċa dejjem taħt attakk mill-UE?’ X’se tgħidlu biex tikkonvinċieh?


Inkun onest dwar il-politika Ewropea u ngħidlu li l-PN huwa partit li jirrispetta l-liġi, id-demokrazija u l-vuċijiet varji fis-soċjeta’ Maltija inkluż tal-kaċċaturi u n-nassaba u ta’ dawk li jixtiequ jgawdu l-għasafar fl-ambjent naturali tagħhom. Il-PN ma jridx jidhak bin-nies.  
Tidħol għand koppja pensjonanti u jgħidulek ‘inti trid tkun elett MEP biex issir sinjurun u tgawdi minn benefiċċji kbar u lussu’. X’tgħidilhom?


Ngħidilhom li ħafna liġijiet li jiġu addottati Malta, mill-kwalita’ ta’ l-ikel sal-prezzijiet tal-mobile jiġu diskussi fil-Parlament Ewropew, li għandu saħħa legali u politika kbira f’dan ir-rigward. Ngħidilhom ukoll li jien mhux ser inkun magħluq f’xi uffiċju iżda li ser naqsam il-ħin tiegħi bejn Malta u Brussell, kif inhu mistenni minn MEP serju, biex b’hekk inkun il-vuċi tal-Maltin u dejjem viċin in-nies. Bħala soċjologu u kunsillier lokali konxju ħafna dwar ir-realtajiet tal-pensjonanti, frekwentament naħdem favur id-drittijiet tagħhom u kuljum niltaqa’ ma’ bosta pensjonanti.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lejn politika ta' konverżazzjoni - Michael Briguglio

Il-fatt li l-oġġettività u l-imġiba edukata qed isiru dejjem aktar skarsi f'xi taqsimiet tal-kummentarju politiku jsewwidli qalbi. F'kuntest ta' post-verità, xi drabi l-fatti jintużaw biss biex xi kummentaturi jikkonfermaw il-pożizzjonijiet li kellhom qabel, f'logħba ta' rebbieħa u telliefa fejn id-djalogu razzjonali jsir diffiċli.

Din mhijiex xi ħaġa ġdida fil-kultura Maltija. Id-diviżjoni binarja tagħna fil-politika, fil-festi, fil-lingwa u f'aspetti oħrajn ilha tul ta' żmien sew. Sa ċertu punt, dan huwa tajjeb għax jagħtina l-motivazzjoni biex nitjiebu. Iżda dak li jinkwetani huwa li l-għodod tal-komunikazzjoni, bħal Facebook u t-taqsimiet tal-kummenti tal-gazzetti fuq l-internet, sikwit jitniġġsu minflok b'kummenti tossiċi.

Din it-tossiċità kultant tinstab ukoll f'artikli, blogs u diversi għamliet ta' intervent politiku. B' 'politiku' ma nixtieqx infisser biss aħmar jew blu. Qed nirreferi aktar għall-perspettiva ta' 'aħna' u
'huma', fejn 'aħna' dejjem għandna raġun u 'huma' dejjem żbaljati, anke jekk il-fatti juru mod ieħor. Nistgħu nsejħulha konfoffa dwar dinja ċatta fil-politika Maltija. Din it-tossiċità taqsam kuluri, konfini, gruppi, partiti u fazzjonijiet differenti.

Il-protagonisti ta' tossiċità bħal din jinkludu wkoll trolls: persuni li jista' jkun li jużaw l-identitajiet reali tagħhom jew identitajiet foloz (jew it-tnejn) u li spiss jaqgħu f'insulti, lingwaġġ degradanti u, xi drabi, anke gideb, kontra dawk li huma jqisu għedewwa. Komunikazzjoni bħal din twassal biss biex jifqar id-djalogu. Il-bilanċ jintrema, il-kompromess jitqies dgħufija, u jirbaħ l-għoti ta' tort lil ħaddieħor.

Din it-tip ta' mġiba hija għamla oħra ta' bullying. U jrid jingħad li l-bullying fuq l-internet jista' jkun daqstant ħażin daqs il-bullying li qed insiru dejjem aktar konxji dwaru, pereżempju fl-iskejjel u l-postijet tax-xogħol.

Nemmen li dawk fostna li aħna attivi fil-politika, il-ġurnaliżmu, in-negozju, it-tfassil tal-politika u l-attiviżmu għandna d-dmir li niskoraġġixxu mġiba bħal din u minflok nagħmlu l-almu tagħna għal djalogu produttiv. Madankollu, din ir-responsabbiltà għandha tkun tas-soċjetà kollha: kull wieħed minna idealment għandu jagħti kontribut għal sitwazzjoni fejn il-komunikazzjoni tagħna ma tkunx imniġġsa b'tgħajjir, gideb, fabrikazzjonijiet u fundamentaliżmu.

Biex nimxu lejn sitwazzjoni bħal din, nistgħu nieħdu ċerti passi. Hawn taħt insemmi xi wħud minnhom.

L-ewwel nett, għandna nagħrfu li hemm perspettivi differenti u li jista' jkun hemm konverżazzjoni bejniethom. Biex din il-konverżazzjoni tkun tista' sseħħ, hija essenzjali l-umiltà. Xi wħud minna jista' jkollhom aktar għarfien dwar ċerti suġġetti minn oħrajn. Pereżempju, dentist x'aktarx ikollu aktar għarfien dwar il-kawża ta' uġigħ fid-dras milli tista' tagħtina tfittxija ta' tliet minuti f'Google. Bl-istess mod, persuna li studjat l-ippjanar urban probabbilment taf aktar dwar l-għeruq tal-problemi tat-traffiku minn kummentatur b'burdata ħażina wara li jkun weħel fit-traffiku. U mħallef normalment jagħmel aktar riċerka msejsa fuq l-evidenza dwar każ milli jagħmel xi ħadd li jkun qed iwieġeb mistoqsija f'vox pop.

L-umiltà tfisser ukoll li lkoll nagħrfu li għandna ħafna x'nitgħallmu u li ħadd ma għandu t-tweġibiet tajbin għall-mistoqsijiet kollha: li tkun espert f'qasam ma jfissirx neċessarjament li tifhem f'oqsma oħrajn.

Huwa wkoll ferm importanti li nisimgħu attivament. Li nisimgħu jfisser li tassew nagħtu importanza lil fehmiet oħrajn u mhux li jkollna tweġiba lesta tgħid x'tgħid il-persuna l-oħra. Jew, saħansitra agħar, li nistmerru l-messaġġier mhux minħabba l-messaġġ tiegħu iżda għax jinzerta mhuwiex parti mill-grupp tagħna. Għaldaqstant, huwa kruċjali li nżommu moħħna miftuħ qabel naslu għal deċiżjoni.

L-istil tal-komunikazzjoni tagħna wkoll huwa importanti ħafna. Ma hemm xejn ħażin li ma naqblux u dan jista' jsir mingħajr ma nduru għat-tgħajjir jew għal kummenti dispreġjattivi. Nistgħaġeb li aħna tant konxji dwar il-korrettezza politika iżda mbagħad ma niddejqu xejn ninsulentaw lill-avversarji politiċi tagħna, pereżempju permezz ta' elitiżmu klassist jew, min-naħa l-oħra, l-anti-intellettwaliżmu. Forsi lkoll neħtieġu xi lezzjonijiet fil-komunikazzjoni u l-etika bażiċi.

Nistgħu wkoll nippruvaw inkunu kostruttivi, insibu punti li naqblu dwarhom u nagħrfu li xi problemi u kwistjonijiet huma kumplessi ħafna u jinvolvu bosta aspetti differenti. Xi kultant il-mistoqsijiet ma jkollhomx tweġibiet sempliċi.

Forsi kollha kemm aħna nistgħu nibdew l-istaġun politiku li jmiss billi nippruvaw inġibu ruħna b'mod edukat u nkunu raġonevoli. Ejjew nibnu pontijiet, mhux ħitan. U ejjew inqisu li ma nitimgħux lit-trolls.

Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 26 ta' Awwissu 2018






Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cost of living and competitiveness - Michael Briguglio


Times of Malta, 20 August 2018

At this time of the year the Budget Office within the Ministry of Finance would be working on the upcoming national budget. If one momentarily puts the sale of passports on the side, one should acknowledge that it is no easy task to balance the books while accounting for government’s priorities and various social, economic and environmental needs.
During the process, the social partners within the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development meet to discuss their expectations for the Budget in question. Again, there may be different legitimate requests which sometimes may not be easy to reconcile. Some social partners emphasise competitiveness, others emphasise their members’ purchasing power, and yet others refer to different sectoral needs.
I hope that in the upcoming Budget the government gives more importance to persons at risk of poverty or who are experiencing severe deprivation.  According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), the number of persons living in households with an income below the at-risk-of-poverty line (€8,698) as at 2016 was 72,143, or 16.8 per cent, 0.3 percentage points higher than that recorded for the previous year.
Besides, in 2017, the severe material deprivation rate among persons living in households was 3.3 per cent, a decrease of 1.1 per cent from the previous year. One should also refer to a recent European Commission study which stated that elderly pensions in Malta are not adequate.
Sure, the government did include some commendable reforms to help move people out of poverty. These include the tapering of benefits, welfare to work schemes, family-friendly measures such as childcare centres and other schemes.
But the fact remains that low-income earners and pensioners are experiencing too many burdens. This includes increased costs for rent, food stuffs, fuel, utility bills and other items, which are reflected in Malta’s relatively high inflation rate of around two per cent.
Last year’s Budget awarded a cost of living increase (COLA) to workers or €1.75. Any consumer would agree that this did not suffice to cater for the actual cost of living increases. The fact that the government itself awarded an extra supplement to workers was in itself an admission that the COLA increase was not realistic.
I endorse the claim by workers’ unions that it is about time to review the mechanism that calculates COLA. The mechanism has not changed in years and  consequently it seems to be out of touch with reality.
True, COLA was the result of a historic agreement between the government and respective employers’ and workers’ unions, and I agree that it is difficult to envisage an alternative mechanism that enjoys such a broad consensus. But this should not prohibit the government from looking into methods which can tweak the mechanism to make it more realistic while not hindering Malta’s competitiveness.
Other queries being made on Malta’s increase in prices should also be taken seriously by the government. For example, how much profits is the Enemed monopoly making? And how are they being used?
As regards Malta’s competitiveness, it is pertinent to look at a series of indicators and other evidence during the budget process. One such indicator is Malta’s trade deficit. The NSO recently quantified Malta’s as amounting to €242.6 million in May 2018, compared to a trade deficit of €441.2 million in the corresponding month of 2017. Both imports and exports decreased by €271.9 million and €73.3 million respectively.
Though Malta’s trade deficit has improved during the 12 months in question, the existence of such as deficit in itself is no news, and the demise of manufacturing helped result in a wider gap over the years. But does manufacturing have a future in Malta? Most likely it will keep experiencing major challenges, but it can also adopt strategies such as what my father Lino Briguglio refers to as ‘vertical specialisation’, whereby the Maltese firm would specialise in a particular stage of production which is knowledge-based and therefore generate a very high degree of value-added per person employed.
Such economic strategy requires effective investment in research, education, training, retraining and upskilling of workers. Given Malta’s relatively low performance in this regard, I augur that the government gives more importance to respective investment in the upcoming budget.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

The social exclusion of children – Michael Briguglio



The current news cycle is focusing on some negative experiences faced by politicians’ children. As is the case with almost everything else in Maltese politics, the issue is being interpreted through an ‘us’ and ‘them’ approach. Only that this time around, the binary is not divided between reds and blues.



Being a politician dad myself, I sympathize with other politician parents who may have experienced such unfortunate practices. It is only fair and just that children should be treated for what they are rather than being socially excluded because of their background. I would never justify behaviour which excludes children because their parents happen to be in politics, just as I would never justify having children excluded because of their parents’ skin colour, beliefs or other sources of identity.



At the same time, we should verify whether it is beneficial to raise kids’ profiles to media superstar status. Here I am not just referring to politicians’ children, but also to kids who hit the headlines of top TV shows, pop festivals, and the like. And by verification I am referring to proper evidence-based social scientific analysis.



In the meantime, the form of social exclusion which made to the current Maltese news cycle is bullying, and the Commissioner for Children made it clear that this can never be justified. I know the Commissioner, Pauline Miceli, to be a level-headed decent person, and if anything, her statement only confirms the opinion I have about her.



We must also keep in mind that there are other forms of social exclusion which many children are experiencing. Unfortunately, the voices of such children are quite invisible from the public sphere.



These include children who require the services of Learning Support Assistants but for whom state resources seem to be lacking; children who are excluded from public activities because of their disability; children who are deprived from public spaces where they can play safely; children of cultural minorities who don’t seem to ‘fit in’ and children whose parents’ income prohibits them from enjoying the most basic forms of social inclusion.



We can also mention children who are on long waiting lists for certain public health services and babies who are prohibited from being breastfed due to a lack of friendly environment at the work place.



Finally, we can also refer to the view that treats children as incomplete human beings, as blank sheets of paper waiting to be filled in. True, children need to be educated about the rights, responsibilities, values, norms and skills required in society. But children are also creative, imaginative human beings whose voices should be heard. Commendable activities such as children’s parliament should be mainstreamed and children should be consulted more on what they would like to see at school, in public spaces and in society in general. 

This article appeared in Malta Today, 19 August 2018






Taħt il-ħarsa tat-turist – Michael Briguglio



Malta mhijiex l-uniku pajjiż fejn qed jiżdiedu t-turisti. Din iż-żieda qed isseħħ madwar id-dinja kollha. Matul l-2017, kien hemm 1.3 biljun wasla ta’ turisti madwar id-dinja, u 51 fil-mija għażlu pajjiżi Ewropej bħala d-destinazzjonijiet tagħhom. Kien hemm żidiet fit-turisti f’diversi pajjiżi, iżda dik fl-Iżlanda kienet l-aktar spettakolari. Din kellha żieda ta’ 230 fil-mija fit-turisti bejn l-2012 u l-2017.



Ejjew nagħtu ħarsa lejn xi wħud miċ-ċifri marbutin ma’ Malta pprovduti mill-Awtorità tat-Turiżmu. B’kollox 2.3 miljun turist żaru l-gżejjer Maltin fl-2017, żieda ta’ 16 fil-mija fuq l-2016 u kważi d-doppju tal-1.2 miljun turist li żaru Malta fl-2009. In-nefqa tat-turisti u l-iljieli li qattgħu f’pajjiżna żdiedu b’14 fil-mija u 10 fil-mija rispettivament meta mqabbla mal-2016, bl-akbar għadd ta’ turisti ġejjin mir-Renju Unit, l-Italja, il-Ġermanja u Franza rispettivament.



Tlieta u sebgħin fil-mija tat-turisti kienu qed iżuru lil Malta għall-ewwel darba, u kien hemm bilanċ bejn turisti li għażlu vjaġġi b’kollox inkluż u turisti li ppjanaw il-btala tagħhom waħidhom. Min-naħa l-oħra, 67 fil-mija tat-turisti qagħdu f’akkomodazzjoni kollettiva bħal lukandi, filwaqt li 33 fil-mija għażlu akkomodazzjoni privata.



Ir-raġunijiet ewlenin għaliex it-turisti għażlu lil Malta kienu x-xemx u l-kultura rispettivament, u l-biċċa l-kbira tat-turisti taw reazzjoni pożittiva dwar l-esperjenza tagħhom f’Malta. B’rabta ma’ dan, wieħed jista’ jżid li t-turiżmu jista’ jgħin ukoll biex jitrawmu attitudni miftuħa u sens ta’ kburija fis-soċjetajiet lokali.



Fl-2017, madwar 11,000 ħaddiem kienu impjegati direttament full-time fis-servizzi turistiċi u madwar 6,000 kienu jaħdmu fit-turiżmu fuq bażi part-time bħala x-xogħol ewlieni tagħhom. Ħafna oħrajn kienu impjegati indirettament bħal fl-amministrazzjoni pubblika u l-banek.



L-ekonomisti ma jaqblux dwar il-kontribut tat-turiżmu għall-ekonomija Maltija, iżda wieħed jista’ jgħid b’ċerta kunfidenza li dan il-kontribut huwa qrib it-12 fil-mija tal-prodott gross domestiku. Dan jista’ jitkejjel billi l-ewwel wieħed isir jaf kemm jonfqu t-turisti u mbagħad inaqqas il-prodotti u s-servizzi li jiġu importati minn barra, u dak li jifdal huwa l-kontribut għall-prodott gross domestiku.



Fl-2017 in-nefqa totali tat-turisti qabżet €1.9 biljun, li minnhom madwar 30 fil-mija ntefqu fuq importazzjonijiet ta’ prodotti u servizzi, u b’hekk tħallew madwar €1.3 biljun fl-ekonomija.



Madankollu, issa sirna nafu li ma nistgħux inkejlu l-impatt ta’ settur ekonomiku sempliċement billi nħarsu lejn iċ-ċifri finanzjarji. F’destinazzjonijiet turistiċi bħal Barċellona, Mallorca u Venezja l-opinjoni pubblika daret kontra l-ħarsa tat-turist li qed tibdel lokalitajiet f’parks ta’ divertiment, u dan sikwit iwassal għal problemi soċjali u ambjentali għar-residenti u prezzijiet ogħla għall-prodotti u s-servizzi. Forsi Malta għandha tniedi indikatur tal-ħobża biż-żejt biex ikejjel u jqabbel il-prezzijiet ta’ dan l-oġġett tal-ikel fi żminijiet u postijiet differenti.



F’Malta nafu li t-turiżmu hu settur ekonomiku ferm importanti, iżda min-naħa l-oħra r-residenti spiss ikollhom ibatu l-konsegwenzi ta’ problemi bħar-rimi ta’ skart ma’ kullimkien u l-iffullar. F’lokalitajiet bħal Tas-Sliema, il-Gżira, San Ġiljan, is-Swieqi u San Pawl il-Baħar ir-residenti sikwit jirrappurtaw għajjat, storbju tard bil-lejl u skart eċċessiv.



Il-mixi max-xatt u fuq il-bankini sar tassew diffiċli f’ċerti postijiet, u hu saħansitra aktar diffiċli għal persuni b’diżabilità, persuni anzjani u ġenituri bi tfal żgħar u pushchairs. Bosta drabi l-kunsilli lokali ma jkunux jistgħu jlaħħqu ma’ dawn il-problemi, u l-fatt li l-gvern ħa f’idejh għadd ta’ responsabbiltajiet li qabel kienu f’idejn il-kunsilli lokali ma jgħinx.



Il-fenomenu tal-linji tal-ajru bi prezzijiet baxxi għen biex jiżdied l-għadd ta’ turisti, u għamel is-safar aktar aċċessibbli għal miljuni ta’ nies madwar id-dinja. Iżda d-destinazzjonijiet turistiċi huma mgħammra għal żidiet bħal dawn? Xi bliet u pajjiżi qed jintroduċu miżuri biex jirregolaw it-turiżmu b’mod aktar sostenibbli.



Hawn Malta, il-mudelli ta’ ppjanar tagħna mhumiex olistiċi. L-irduppjar f’għaxar snin tal-għadd ta’ turisti ġie impost fuq infrastruttura li hi magħmula għal numri ħafna iżgħar. Hawnhekk mhux qed nirreferi biss għat-toroq u l-bankini iżda wkoll għat-trattament tad-dranaġġ, is-servizzi tal-isptar, it-trasport pubbliku u prodotti u servizzi pubbliċi essenzjali.



Barra minn hekk, il-mudell ekonomiku ta’ Malta bħalissa hu msejjes fuq iż-żieda fil-popolazzjoni li tirriżulta mill-importazzjoni tal-ħaddiema. Għal darb’oħra, huwa ċar li qed nagħtu aktar importanza lin-numri u lill-aċċellerazzjoni milli lill-kwalità u lill-kawtela.



Huwa veru li għandna nagħtu valur lill-prodott turistiku tagħna, iżda ejjew ma nħallux l-effetti negattivi tiegħu jirbħu lil dawk pożittivi.



Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 19 ta' Awissu 2018