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MaltaToday 2 March 2022 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 2 MARCH 2022 2 NEWS ELECTION 2022 NICOLE MEILAK THE Nationalist Party will pub- lish a document with the finan- cial costings of its election pro- posals closer to voting day, party leader Bernard Grech said on Tuesday. At a walkabout through the Birgu market, Grech said that the party would give a proper overview of the costs of their proposals in the coming weeks. "Costings will be announced – it's not because we don't have them right now or that we're not prepared, but because we will publish a document where things will be clearer." Last Thursday, the Nationalist Party approved its manifesto for the 26 March general election. During its launch, Grech told the party that the manifesto is the product of countless discus- sions and debates with civil soci- ety, social partners and different sections of society. Among the proposals is the introduction of a new yardstick known as environment, social and corporate governance, by which a Nationalist government would reward socially and envi- ronmentally responsible behav- iour. In this way, the state will cre- ate a level playing field between businesses complying with on- erous social and environmental targets when competing with those who don't. The manifesto states that the ESG should have environmen- tal criteria, including carbon neutrality and responsible land use; social criteria, which ex- clude precarious labour condi- tions; and governance criteria that include compliance to all fiscal obligations, indicating that tax-evading business would be excluded from state incentives. Businesses that respect these criteria would qualify for tax advantages like a proposed 15% tax rate on the first €500,000 of company profits which are rein- vested in the company. Other benefits conditional on ESG compliance include the payment of 50% of wage costs for three years whenever a small family-owned company employs an additional employee for a pe- riod of at least three years. During the first week of elec- tion campaigning, the Nation- alist Party came out with a €1 billion investment package to create new sectors while strengthening others. The identified sectors include compliance and due diligence, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, e-sports, and video game production, strengthening the sports industry by linking it to medical and tourism sectors, energy sectors, and social enter- prises. On Monday, Grech further revealed that a Nationalist gov- ernment would ensure that 50,000sqm of public land will be granted outside-development zone (ODZ) protection every year. For any development to take place on ODZ land, a two-thirds consensus would be required in parliament. In Malta's 'election giveaway' campaign, PN will publish costings Bernard Grech says party's costings of proposals will be published in the coming weeks amid a campaign of giveaways from both main parties Bernard Grech pledges entity to promote the Maltese language LUKE VELLA PN leader Bernard Grech pledged that in government the party would be setting up a 'Dar tal-Malti', an entity for the pro- motion of the good use of the Maltese language. Grech spoke at a poorly attend- ed PN meeting in Zejtun on a cold Tuesday evening, during which he thanked MP Mario Galea for his work in the locality. Galea de- cided not to contest the next gen- eral action, saying to MaltaToday that party insiders made his life a "living hell". He spoke of the importance of voluntary work and said the NGOs are facing disproportion- ate burdens imposed by the gov- ernment. "We can't have a one size fits all. We not only believe in voluntary work but we will invest to reduce administrative bureau- cracy for them to sustain NGOs." Grech said that careers in sports, art and culture deserve re- spect and should not treated any less than any other profession. He reiterated PN's pledge to reduce the income tax of people in the arts and sports fields to 5% on the first €80,000 made. According to Grech the pan- demic measures were applied discriminately and said that the election became a "new vaccine", with the relaxation of measures in rallies. "Let's open the country and remove the measures for all for people, so they can lead a normal life. Let us truly show that we be- lieve in science." During the night the PN pre- sented its candidates for the third district; John Baptist Camilleri, Janice Chetcuti, Errol Cutajar, Carm Mifsud Bonnici, Mary Muscat, Leon Sciberras and Ste- phen Spiteri. The third district consists of the localities of Żejtun, Għaxaq, Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk. PN MP Carm Mifsud Bonnici led a passionate plea in support of democracy in Ukraine and condemned the "undemocratic" actions of Russia. He appealed to voters to remain hopeful, despite the surveys, and to vote on 26 March. "Imagine if Borg Olivier had given up on the Independence or Fenech Adami on the European Union," Mifsud Bonnici said. He also thanked Mario Galea for his political work. "I publical- ly thank him as we all know how much he suffered. In the name of all in the district, I want to thank you for what you have done in Zejtun," Mifsud Bonnici said while the crowd held a standing ovation. Opposition leader Bernard Grech PN leader Bernard Grech says careers in sports, arts and culture should be treated with respect

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