Uħud donnhom bdew jifhmu li għalkemm l-ekonomija tagħna qed iddur ġmielu, u ilha hekk, hi vulnerabbli. Ħafna mir-ritmu tat-tkabbir jiddependi mis-servizzi finanzjarji, li magħhom trid tgħaqqad is-servizzi tal-imħatri bl-internet. Hemm ukoll it-turiżmu li qed jirrombla qatigħ.
Imma t-tnejn, l-aktar is-servizzi finanzjarji, malajr jistgħu mill-bnazzi jaqilbu għal maltemp għax l-azjendi barranin li huma attivi fihom, ftit għandhom riżorsi finanzjarji u materjali “maqbuda” f’Malta. Mil-lum għal għada jew kważi, jistgħu jiddeċiedu li jitilqu x’imkien ieħor jekk iċ-ċirkostanzi jidhrulhom favorevoli għal hekk.
Terġa’, kif ħafna issa qed jifhmu, il-klima politika fl-Ewropa bil-mod qed tinbidel biex tħares bil-qares lejn ekonomiji bħal tagħna li jħaddmu liġijiet li jagħtu nifs lis-servizzi finanzjarji. Kemm ilna membri fl-Unjoni Ewropea, dawn is-servizzi fostna komplew ifuru, prinċipalment għax l-Unjoni ma kellhiex politika Ewropea dwarhom. Issa pass wara l-ieħor, riesqa biex iddaħħal dil-politika.
U x’se nagħmlu jekk is-servizzi finanzjarji jibdew telqin it-triq tal-biedja u s-sajd, biex ma nsemmux it-tarznari?

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FIL-BOGĦOD MHUX DAQSTANT

Xi kultant nistagħġeb kif dwar pensjonijiet u riforma fit-tmexxija tagħhom ftit li xejn għadna nisimgħu. Issa jekk hemm żmien fejn beda jagħmel sens li dir-riforma tqum għad-diskussjoni hu issa.
Komplew jgħaddu s-snin li matulhom il-problema ta’ popolazzjoni Maltija dejjem tixjieħ affermat ruħha. Nafu aħjar kif qed jiżdied is-sehem tan-nisa fid-dinja tax-xogħol. Nafu wkoll kif immigranti ħaddiema u impjegati qed jindehsu fis-soċjetà lokali.
Aktar minn hekk, ir-rata tat-tkabbir ekonomiku hi tajba ħafna u mistennija tkompli b’dal-pass għal aktar żmien. Hu f’mumenti hekk li jagħmel sens li l-kwistjoni ta’ riforma fil-pensjonijiet titqajjem.
Is-soluzzjonijiet bħalissa jinħassu ħafna anqas qarsa milli kieku kellhom jitwettqu meta l-qagħda tkun waħda delikata.

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NENU
Nenu Buhagiar kien wieħed mill-aktar irġiel ġentili li qatt iltqajt magħhom. Kellu ħafna esperjenzi ta’ imrar imma ma ħallihomx idakkruh bil-qrusa. Bil-maqlub.
Dejjem kont nafu bħala attivist Laburista, minn dawk li jaħdmu bla qies għadilli dwarhom ma nisimgħu xejn. Xorta waħda kien wieħed mill-protagonisti tal-attiviżmu Laburista favur il-ħelsien, il-libertà tal-kelma u tal-ħsieb, il-ġustizzja soċjali. Wara l-ġrajjiet tat-28 ta’ April 1958, mar il-ħabs għal dak li għamel. Mhux talli ma ddispjaċihx b’li ġralu… għalkemm kien ifisser dwejjaq dwar x’seta’ ġara b’li għamel… talli aktar issoda fil-linja politika li kienet tiegħu.
Nies bħalu tlaqqmu t-teologi tal-boiler suit, jew is-suldati tal-azzar. Nippreferi niftakar lil ħabibi Nenu… li miet dil-ġimgħa ta’ età kbira… u lil sħabu, bħala l-Maltin li tassew żammew mal-ideal ta’ Malta ħielsa, moderna u fiduċjuża. Stinkaw bla qies u sofrew għalih.

English Version – Vulnerable

Some people seem to have begun to understand that even though our economy is doing nicely, and has been doing so for quite a while, it remains in a vulnerable position. Much of its growth momentum is tied to financial services, in tandem with internet gaming. To be sure, tourism is also on a roll.

But both sectors, especially financial services, could quickly fly from good into bad weather, since companies which are powering them carry few financial and other resources that are “tied” to Malta. Overnight, they could decide to leave for other shores, should circumstances be favourable.

Moreover, as many are now realizing, the political climate in Europe is changing, becoming less than sweet towards economies like ours, having legislation that encourages financial services. Since we entered the EU, such services have flourished here, principally because the Union did not have a common European policy to regulate them. Now, step by step, it is moving in that direction.

So, what should we be doing if financial services start drifting down the road taken by farming and fisheries, not to mention the shipyards?

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In the not so distant future

Sometimes, I wonder how pensions and pension reform hardly get a mention these days. For if there is a time when it would make sense to discuss such reform, it is now.

More years have passed during which the emerging problem of an ageing Maltese population has spread over the horizon. We have a better feel now for how the participation of women in the world of work is progressing. We also know better how immigrant workers and employees are infiltrating local society.

Plus this: the economic growth rate is very positive and is expected to continue like so for some more time. It is in such circumstances that undertaking a review of pension reform makes sense.

Solutions that could be envisaged will feel less tough than if they had to be considered when delicate conditions prevail.

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Nenu

Nenu Buhagiar was one of the gentlest people I ever met. He had gone through some very depressing turns in his life, but they never undermined his optimism. To the contrary.

I always knew him in his role of Labour activist: one of those who worked tirelessly for the party, even if who they are and what they do never gets reported. Yet, he was a protagonist of Labour’s activism in its stand for independence, freedom of expression and belief, social justice. He was convicted for his role in the events of the 28 April 1958, and went to prison. Not only was he never sorry for what he went through… though the thought that what he did could have had dire consequences always disturbed him… but prison made him more committed to his political stand.

People of his stamp have been labelled as “theologians in a boilersuit” or as “soldiers of steel”. I prefer to think about my friend Nenu (he died this week, at a venerable age) and his comrades, as Maltese patriots who really held high the ideals of a Malta that is free, modern and confident. They worked hard and incessantly for this ideal and suffered for it.