L-imgħaxijiet baxxi tal-aħħar snin fuq depożiti fil-banek poġġew tensjonijiet ġodda fuq ċittadini – speċjalment anzjani – li d-dħul mid-depożiti tagħhom kellu jkun parti importanti minn x’se jgħixu bih matul is-sena.
Uħud – mhux ftit – qatgħuha li l-aħjar soluzzjoni għalihom kienet li minflok iżommu flushom fil-banek, jaraw kif se jixtru binja jew parti minnha, biex wara jikruha. Ħalliha li din ma kinitx soluzzjoni li tassew tista’ tirnexxi. Iż-żamma ta’ binja għall-kiri bħala mod ta’ dħul finanzjarju – ħaġa li tagħmel mill-Maltin rentiers fis-sens ekonomiku tal-kelma – tinħass tajba fiż-żminijiet tajba. Imma toħloq problemi kbar fi żminijiet fejn tonqos it-talba għall-kirjiet ta’ djar u appartamenti.
Jekk dawk li se jkollhom jiffaċċjaw iż-żminijiet diffiċli, jinzertaw aktar anzjani milli huma llum, se jkollhom problemi akbar.
Il-ministru Ġermaniż tal-finanzi li daqt jispiċċa mill-kariga, Schauble, qajjem il-problema ta’ kif l-imgħaxijiet baxxi qed jaffettwaw id-dħul tal-anzjani. Kellu punt.
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KAP TAL-OPPOŻIZZJONI ĠDID
Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni għandu l-ispazju istituzzjonali tiegħu. Dan l-ispazju għandu jiġi rispettat, kif sa issa ġara f’pajjiżna mill-Indipendenza lil hawn.
Wieħed mill-aktar spettakli politiċi interessanti hu meta Prim Ministru stabbilit isib ruħu “wiċċ imb’wiċċ” ma Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni ġdid. Lil hinn mill-istupidaġnijiet li wieħed jara jew jaqra fuq il-midja soċjali, din hi sfida għat-tnejn li ftit hawn bħalha.
L-akbar rigal li jista’ jagħmel gvern f’dil-qagħda hu li jissottovaluta lill-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni l-ġdid.
L-akbar rigal li jista jagħmel Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni ġdid hu li jassumi li se jkun hemm xi rieda “ħanina” lejh min-naħa tal-gvern.
Il-Prim Ministru Theresa May tar-Renju Unit tat xhieda ta’ dawn il-“veritajiet” dis-sena meta sejħet elezzjoni bikrija u fallielha t-tir.
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CARPARKS
Mhux ħlief nisimgħu kif l-industrija tal-bini qed tfur bix-xogħol u nimmaġina, profitti.
Igħidulna bla waqfien dwar proġetti għal torrijiet u blokki ta’ appartamenti f’żoni residenzjali u oħrajn li suppost jinżammu ħielsa mill-bini. Talanqas ġieli jissemmew binjiet ta’ lukandi li jżidu l-potenzjal tagħna biex nilqgħu lit-turisti u noħolqu aktar impjiegi għall-Maltin (?). Imma anki dawn jintrabtu mal-bini magħhom ta’ appartamenti għall-bejgħ.
Li nsib stramb hu li qatt ma nisimgħu fuq proposti għall-bini ta’ car parks kummerċjali taħt l-art. Kull fejn inkun, fl-ibliet tal-Ewropa, nara minnhom. Malta kważi xejn li xejn. Fl-istess ħin, jekk kien hemm fawra fil-bini fl-aħħar snin, l-istess ġara fit-traffiku.
Suppost li hawn suq kbir għall-parkeġġi kummerċjali.
Il-bini tagħhom, nistħajjel, joħloq xogħol daqs dak tal-bini ta’ blokk appartamenti u torrijiet. Anzi l-bini ta’ dawn se jirrekjedi aktar postijiet fejn jitpoġġew il-karozzi, u mhux biss tar-residenti.
X’inhu jiġri?

English Version – Low interest rates

The low interest rates of past years have put new pressures on many citizens, especially senior ones, for whom interest income on their bank deposits was earmarked to cover a substantial part of their annual living expenses.

Some — indeed quite a number — decided that their best way out was to cash their bank holdings and try to buy real estate which they could then rent. Never mind that this was hardly a solution that could be very successful in the long run. Owning an apartment or two in order to rent and thus acquire an additional income stream (which makes rentiers in the economic sense of the term of more Maltese people) appears to be a good deal in good times. But it can create huge problems when the rental demand for houses and flats declines.

If/when such difficult times come around (and proprietors happen to be much older than they are now, as is likely) problems will multiply.

The German finance minister Schauble who will soon leave his post, was a leading voice in decrying how low interest rates have been negatively affecting the income of senior citizens. He had a point.

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A new Leader of the Opposition

A Leader of the Opposition has his/her own institutional space. That space should be respected, as indeed has happened in this country since Independence.

One of the more intriguing political scenarios occurs when an established Prime Minister finds him/herself “face to face” with a new Leader of the Opposition. Beyond the stupidities that can be seen or read in the social media, this is a once-only challenge for both.

In such a situation, the best gift a government could give to a new Leader of the Opposition is to underestimate him/her.

The best gift that a new Leader of the Opposition could give to the government is to assume he/she should be treated with kid gloves by the other side.

British Prime Minister Theresa May illustrated how these truisms work in practice, when earlier this year she called a snap election and was caught out.

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Carparks

We read all the time stories about the building boom, which one assumes is translating into good profits for construction entrepreneurs.

Incessantly we are told about new projects for towers and apartment blocks in residential areas plus other locations which supposedly are not zoned for development. At least sometimes we get to know about projects for the building or extension of hotels which presumably are helping to increase the potential of the tourism sector while creating more jobs for the Maltese people (?). However, even the latter sometimes get attached to proposals for the construction of new apartments for sale.

What is curious is that we never hear about proposals to build commercial underground carparks. Wherever you are, in any European city, you find many of them. In Malta, they are practically non-existent. Meanwhile, along with the building boom there has been a boom in traffic.

One would suppose then that a big market for commercial car parks should have emerged. One would also guess that their construction must require the same amount of work as the building of apartment blocks and high rises. Indeed, the latter should itself generate a greater demand for parking space, beyond that required by the new residents.

Why have (commercial) carparks not taken off?