Gasan irid iktar

traffic congestion

 

Joe Gasan għandu negozju tal-karozzi, apparti jiġifieri l-iżvilupp ta’ Townsquare f’Tas-Sliema u l-business venture tal-power station tal-gass…………..

It-Times illum tirrapporta li skond Joe Gasan it-taxxa ta’ registrazzjoni tal-karozzi hi għolja wisq, l-għola fl-Ewropa jgħid. Minħabba f’din it-taxxa mhux qed ibiegħ karozzi kemm jixtieq. Għax irid ibiegħ iżjed, s’intendi biex jagħmel iktar business.

It-Times tirrapporta lil Joe Gasan jgħid li t-taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi għandha tonqos. B’hekk il-karozzi jkunu jiswew inqas u jkun jista’ jbiegħ iżjed. Ovvjament mhux hu biss ………….. għax hemm l-oħrajn ukoll. Fosthom dawk li ġieli jbagħbsu l-emissjonijiet tal-karozzi.

Pajjiżna ma jiflaħx iżjed karozzi fit-toroq. Diġa għandna wisq. Meta tqabblu ma pajjiżi oħra għandna ħafna. F’artiklu li kont ktibt xi sena ilu kont spjegajt kif fit-toroq tagħna għandna madwar 122,000 karozza żejda.

Dawn il-karozzi żejda m’humiex ser jonqsu mil-lum għal għada. Pero żgur li mhux ser jonqsu billi nibnu l-flyovers u billi niftħu iktar toroq. Jonqsu biss jekk pajjiżna jirnexxielu jkollu trasport pubbliku effiċjenti – li s’issa għad m’għandux, avolja sar titjib.

It-trasport pubbliku effiċjenti huwa l-unika soluzzjoni għat-traffiku ma jispiċċa qatt. Għax bi trasport pubbliku effiċjenti n-nies waħedha tirrealizza li m’għandhiex bżonn il-karozzi ………… la dawk ta’ Gasan u l-anqas oħrajn.

Imma sadanittant, sakemm naslu biex ikollna trasport pubbliku effiċjenti Gasan u sħabu jibqgħu jeqirdu.

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Green Icing on half-baked cake

times_of_malta196x703published on 15 November 2008

______________________________________________________________________________________________

by Carmel Cacopardo

 

 

The budget environmental initiatives can best be described as green icing on the cake. However,once you cut through the icing there is not much to be overjoyed with. These initiatives could be considered as a declaration of intent: the good intentions being severely hampered by the government’s lack of action in the past, even the very recent past. As a result it is very difficult for these initiatives to yield positive results at the present time.

A number of initiatives are linked to transport. While the proposal to refund 15.25 per cent of a bicycle’s cost is welcome, it lacks the support of the necessary infrastructure thereby severely diluting its significance and possible impact. There are very few cycle lanes on our roads, and those that exist are frequently obstructed or else end abruptly. Few bicycle racks were installed in our towns and villages, the most notable being the ones in Birkirkara installed by the local council on the initiative of Green local councillor Mario Mallia during his term of office some years ago.

Others exist in Attard, a credit to Attard Green councillor Ralph Cassar. But very few exist elsewhere. AD is insisting through its local councillors in Attard (Ralph Cassar), Sliema (Michael Briguglio) and Ta’ Sannat (John Mizzi) for more initiatives which would make our roads bicycle friendly. It is only thus that the budget bicycle initiative could make any sense. What about some action by ADT?

The new car tax regime (both registration tax and circulation tax) could have been designed in a better manner. The age of a car, for example, is not necessarily conducive to increased environmental impacts.

The actual emissions as resulting from the VRT test would have been a much better point of reference than vehicle age in determining car taxation. This would encourage and reward those who keep their cars in good working order.

The budget also increased the licence fees (circulation tax) to be paid relative to cars currently on the road. When viewed within the context of the practical inexistence of a reliable public transport service, in the short term this is bad policy.

In the long term, however, it could be an adequate policy tool to encourage the reduction of the 295,000 cars currently on the road. In order to function properly eco taxation requires the existence of an alternative to what is being taxed: the alternative in this case being public transport. In the absence of an alternative the end result will be socially regressive: reduced accessibility to those at the lower end of the social ladder. If the real objective of the new car licence rates (circulation tax) is environmental, it would have been much better for all if they were not applicable immediately. Their applicability should be linked to the reform of the public transport system.

Government’s encouragement of photovoltaic panel installation is very limited. It is generous but due to financial constraints it will be limited to around 200 households.

It is also hampered by other issues which have not yet been addressed. Issues of ownership of airspace have to be examined and new concepts as to its use have to be developed. Likewise from a land use planning point of view any future increase of permissible building heights has to be balanced against the right of access to solar energy.

The direct subsidy of photovoltaic panel purchase is not the only way to encourage installation. The government should explore schemes through which the purchase price is paid through the electrical energy generated. An initiative such as this would render solar energy accessible to those who do not have the required capital outlay readily available.

The eco tax applicable to incandescent light bulbs and the increase in eco tax payable on plastic bags were long overdue. However, the government must explain how it will tackle its major loophole in this respect. It is a known fact, at times documented in the media, that the manner in which eco taxes are being evaded is through overland supplies from neighbouring Sicily. It is eco tax versus the free movement of goods. Will checks be introduced at the border to control blatant and obvious tax evasion?

It is also amusing to note that the government is a late convert to the applicability of eco taxation in the tourism sector. The rate to be applied as from 2010 is insignificant but at last this green principle, which was under attack on the eve of the 2004 European Parliament elections, has now been accepted. Tourism has to date been excluded from the applicability of the polluter pays principle. Hopefully it will slowly come in line. Next to follow should be MTA encouragement of eco and agro tourism. These are forms of tourism with substantially lower environmental impacts than conventional tourism.

The green icing may be fine, but if the cake is half-baked what’s the use?

Il-Jaguar ta’ Austin Gatt

 

jaguar-xf-picture

 

Il-Ministru Austin Gatt daħħal Jaguar. M’hiex tiegħu. Tal-Gvern. Jiġifieri ser titħallas mit-taxxi li nħallsu int u jien.

 

Għalina m’hemmx Jaguar!

 

Kif kien mistenni l-Gvern fil-Budget ħabbar sistema ġdida dwar kif ikunu intaxxati l-karozzi. Taxxi li ma jitħallsux fuq il-Jaguar li ser juża Austin il-Ministru.

 

Ser ikollna taxxa dwar ir-reġistrazzjoni u t-taxxa dwar iċ-ċirkulazzjoni tal-karozzi.

  

Il-mod kif tinħadem it-taxxa dwar ir-reġistrazzjoni inbidel u bħala riżultat karozzi ta’ ċilindrata kbira huma soġġetti għal taxxa ikbar. B’hekk karozzi żgħar – kemm fid-daqs kif ukoll fiċ-ċilindrata – ser tonqos fuqhom il-piż tat-taxxa li minflok ser tintefa fuq il-karozzi l-kbar. Jekk dan it-tnaqqis ta’ taxxa huwiex ser jirrifletti ruħu fil-prezz tal-karozzi għad irridu naraw.

 

Il-kelmiet “taxxa dwar iċ-ċirkulazzjoni” huma kelmiet oħra flok il-liċenzja ta’ kull sena li nħallsu. Din it-taxxa taċ-ċirkulazzjoni ser tkun trid titħallas minn kulħadd : kemm dawk li għandhom karozzi ġodda kif ukoll dawk li għandhom karozzi qodma.

 

Li titħallas minn dawk li għandhom karozzi ġodda naħseb li huwa sewwa u dan minħabba li dawn il-karozzi ser ikunu inxtraw taħt sistema ġdida u għandhom joqgħodu għaliha kollha.

 

Id-diffikulta hi dwar il-karozzi l-qodma li ser ikollhom iħallsu din it-taxxa ukoll b’effett minn l-1 ta’ Jannar li ġej. Il-Gvern qed jgħid li din hi taxxa ambjentali għax tintaxxa lil min iħammeġ l-iktar.

 

Issa taxxa ambjentali għandha l-iskop li tinkoraġixxi bdil tal-imġieba ta’ dak li jkun. Biex jevita li tħallas din it-taxxa irid ikun possibli illi ġġib ruħek b’mod differenti. Issa l-alternattivi għal karozza qadima huma tnejn : jew tixtri karozza ġdida inkella tagħmel użu mit-trasport pubbliku. Għal min il-mezzi tiegħu huma limitati t-trasport pubbliku huwa l-uniku alternattiva. Fl-assenza ta’ transport pubbliku effiċjenti jiġifieri, ma teżisti l-ebda alternattiva. Ikollok tħallas it-taxxa.

 

Kien ikun iktar għaqli illi l-implementazzjoni tat-taxxa taċ-ċirkulazzjoni għall-karozzi l-qodma tidħol fis-seħħ mar-riforma tat-trasport pubbliku. B’hekk ikun hemm vera għażla, għażla realistika anke għall-faxxa soċjali li għandha riżorsi limitati. Kif inhi implimentata għaldaqstant it-taxxa taċ-ċirkulazzjoni hi soċjalment rigressiva u dan għax tolqot ħażin lill-faxxa soċjali t’isfel mingħajr ma tipprovdi alternattivi.

 

Hemm ukoll punt ieħor : il-Gvern iddeċieda li ġaladarba karozza hi qadima bil-fors tħammeġ iktar minn karozza ġdida jew minn karozza li ilha fit-triq għal numru inqas ta’ snin. Dan m’huwiex korrett. Kien ikun aħjar li kieku minflok ma ntużat l-eta tal-karozza sar użu mill-emissjonijiet attwali kif dawn wara kollox jirriżultaw mit-testijiet tal-VRT. Ma ninsewx li wieħed mit-testijiet li jsiru lill-karozzi meta jsirilhom il-VRT huwa kemm joħroġ exhaust. L-ADT taf kemm huma l-emissjonijiet tal-karozzi kollha kull sentejn u m’għandu jkollha l-ebda diffikulta li tagħmel użu minn din l-informazzjoni biex fuqha jiġi determinat l-ammont ta’ taxxa ta’ cirkulazzjoni pagabbli dwar il-karozzi.

 

B’hekk ikunu intaxxati l-karozzi li jħammġu verament, u min jieħu ħsieb il-karozza tiegħu ma jkunx ippenalizzat bħal min jittraskurha kontinwament.

 

Wara kollox mhux kulħadd bħal Austin : bil-Jaguar bla taxxi wara l-bieb !

Reflections on Transport Policy

 
published on Sunday August 24, 2008

by Carmel Cacopardo
__________________________________________________________________________
 

 
 
 

 

It is not often that different issues, which could possibly lead to the formulation of one coherent policy, crop up simultaneously. Three such issues all dealing with transport policy are currently (and separately) under discussion. If adequately coordinated it could be possible to formulate one coherent transport policy that facilitates our mobility and simultaneously leads to less congested roads and a cleaner air.

The reduction of sulphur and lead in the fuels we used way back in the 1980s and the recent introduction of bio-diesel on the market were significant steps forward which unfortunately were not followed up with the formulation of a clear and coherent transport policy. Likewise the subsidies dished out by the State for the modernisation of the public transport fleet were limited to issues of accessibility (low floor).

Environmental indicators published recently by Mepa clearly show the main traffic arteries as the most densely polluted ones. The pollution levels in St Anne Street, Floriana sticks out, as do other residential areas, which have to put up with through traffic. Notably Msida, Fgura and Hamrun.

The reform of car registration taxation was triggered by EU infringement procedures as well as ECJ decisions relative to other European States. Car registration taxes, which in Malta are substantial, have, to date, not been a sufficient deterrent to placing 292,000 cars on Malta’s roads.

The issue of transport reform has been neglected for decades that it has now developed into a time bomb. The inefficient public transport is indirectly the cause of a large number of cars on the road and consequently is contributing to the further deterioration of the air we breathe.

These three issues are being dealt with separately, with Mepa analysing the effects, the Ministry of Finance seeking to retain taxation at its present levels and the Ministry for Transport facing the music.

Instead of being separate issues, the government should have taken this once in a lifetime opportunity of formulating a coherent transport policy with the Minister for the Environment taking the lead. This is the policy advocated by the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, which though approved by Cabinet after extensive consultation with stakeholders over a long time frame, seems to have been placed in hibernation.

The Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands in fact considers it necessary to promote a sustainable transport system and calls for the formulation of an “integrated transport strategy”. Transport policy, the strategy says, has an important role in nurturing sustainable communities.

As indicated in the document issued by the Ministry of Transport some weeks ago, it is envisaged to overhaul public transport such that an integrated network is created making more of Malta accessible. When this is achieved one of the contributors to social exclusion would have been tackled.

The reform of public transport is crucial in the implementation of a transport policy because if reasonable accessibility were guaranteed, as it should be, through an efficient and punctual public transport, more custom would be attracted thereby reducing the number of cars on our roads. In such circumstances most of us would consider seriously making use of public transport more often.

In the short term this would have the effect of reducing the number of cars temporarily our roads. In the long term it could reduce the purchase of cars.

The most important effect on our families would be substantial improvements in the quality of the air we breathe coupled with fewer expenses.

In these circumstances car registration tax assumes the function of an environmental tax. In fact, the few details known so far indicate that emissions and car size would be the criteria on the basis of which the quantum of car registration tax payable would be determined. The splitting of the tax due into two, part due on registration and the rest payable throughout the car’s lifetime is also reasonable and an effective manner in which to apply the polluter pays principle. This would assist in the determination of impacts that vary throughout the lifetime of a car. Varying emissions could be determined through the VRT test, which should henceforth be used as a tool for determining the environmental impacts of cars currently on the road.

This is a long-term view of transport. It will undoubtedly not be to everybody’s liking. Car dealers, panel beaters, car mechanics would not be amused if fewer cars were our roads as it would reduce their work. Fewer cars on the road would also reduce government’s income because fewer taxes would be collected. But on the plus side it would be a bonus to our health.

Large communities living in those areas, which, year in year out are identified as having low air quality, would heave a sigh of relief. Those who over the years have developed respiratory diseases, most notably asthma, would welcome any improvements as these would be a boost to their quality of life.

Taxxa ta’ Reġistrazzjoni fuq il-Karozzi : Dewmien eżaġerat

 

 

L-importaturi tal-karozzi qed igorru għax naqsu l-ordnijiet. Dawn naqsu għax in-nies qed tittama li l-Gvern iraħħas il-prezz tal-karozzi. Kulħadd għandu għajnejh f’wiċċu u anke’ biss mir-riklami fuq it-televison taljan malajr tinduna li l-karozzi f’Malta mhux irħas.

 

Qed jingħad  (u x’aktarx li huwa veru) li hu fid-Danimarka biss li t-taxxa fuq il-karozzi hi għola minn Malta.

 

Il-posizzjoni hi waħda sempliċi ħafna. Il-Gvern kien kostrett iħabbar li ser jobdi lill-EU u għaldaqstant iddikjara iktar kmieni din is-sena illi ser jirrevedi t-taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni fuq il-karozzi billi b’mod partikolari jindirizza l-kwistjoni tal-VAT (l-EU ddikjarat li ma tistax titħallas taxxa fuq taxxa) u tad-diskriminazzjoni fl-applikazzjoni tat-taxxa bejn karozzi ġodda u karozzi second hand.

 

Il-Gvern ħabbar il-kriterji li fuqhom ser jimxi : taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni li tvarja skond l-emissjonijiet tal-karozzi u t-tul tagħhom (minħabba l-ispazju li jiġi okkupat u allura l-effett fuq il-parking u fuq il-konġestjoni fit-toroq) kif ukoll liċenzja li tvarja skond kemm tkun ilha fit-triq il-karozza. Il-Gvern ħabbar ukoll li m’huwiex qed jippjana li jiġbor iktar taxxa milli qed jiġbor illum.

 

Ovvjament il-Gvern inqabad fuq sieq waħda. Kif iddikjara l-Ministru Fenech kien jippreferi li jibqa’ bis-sistema kif inhi. Ma ried jibdel xejn. Fil-passat irrifjuta li jisma’ l-leħen ta’ min intebaħ x’inhu ġej. Dawn huma l-konsegwenzi.

 

Ser jibqa’ jkollna iktar konsegwenzi minn dawn sakemm il-Gvern jibqa’ mingħalih li jista’ jimxi waħdu. Ma jagħti każ ta’ ħadd u ta’ xejn iżda biss ta’ dak li jidhirlu hu. Din is-sistema l-ġdida tat-taxxa ta’ reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi imissha ilha li saret. Imma l-Gvern ipposponiha mhux biss biex jevita li jagħmilha imma ukoll biex ma tidħolx lejliet l-elezzjoni.

 

Għad irridu naraw kif ser tkun implimentata t-taxxa l-ġdida biex inkunu nistgħu nikkummentaw fuqha. S’issa dwar id-dikjarazzjonijiet li saru m’hemm xejn xi tgħid ħlief li d-dewmien hu eżaġerat.

 

Leħen Ieħor Favur is-Serjeta’

 

 

 

Nifraħ lil The Today Public Policy Institute u lill-awtur it-Tabib George Debono għall-pubblikazzjoni tar-rapport “Towards A Low Carbon Society ; The Nation’s Health, Energy Security and Fossil Fuels.

 

M’għandi l-ebda dubju illi din il-pubblikazzjoni ser tkun ta’ għajnuna kbira biex iċċaqlaq lill-awtoritajiet ħalli jaġixxu biex jintroduċu miżuri li jwasslu għat-tnaqqis fl-użu tal-karozzi u użu ikbar tat-trasport pubbliku.

 

F’pajjiż żgħir bħal dan dan huwa possibli. Nistgħu nagħmluh bla diffikulta għax id-distanzi huma kważi kollha żgħar.

 

Huwa tajjeb li r-rapport jemfasizza fuq il-ħtieġa li t-tassazzjoni ambjentali għandha tintuża bħala strument biex tgħin fil-bidla tal-imġieba tan-nies. Opportunita tad-deheb qegħda wara l-bieb : ir-reviżjoni tat-taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi. Nittamaw li l-Gvern iwettaq dak li ilu jwiegħed, jiġifieri li s-sistema l-ġdida tkun waħda li tiskuragixxi lil min iħammeg.

 

Huwa neċessarju illi s-sidien tal-karozzi tal-linja jirrealizzaw illi l-kriżi tal-prezz taż-żjut m’hiex biss problema. Hija ukoll opportunita għall-komunita biex tnaqqas id-dipendenza fuq l-użu tal-karozzi privati u bħala riżultat ta’ dan tagħmel użu iktar frekwenti mit-trasport pubbliku. L-opportunita qegħda hemm biex nisfruttawha kemm-il darba t-trasport pubbliku jkun reformat, jaqdi iktar lokalitajiet permezz ta’ rotot ġodda, jkun puntwali u jagħti servizz iktar fit-tul matul il-ġurnata.   

 

Opportunita ta’ darba

 

Il-prezz dejjem jogħla tal-petrol u d-diesel qed jagħfas lil kulħadd. Hu problema kbira, imma m’hiex problema li ħoloqha l-Gvern.

 

Din il-problema iżda tagħti lill-Gvern opportunita ta’ darba, kif ngħidu fuq platt. Aħna kapaċi bħala pajjiż nisfruttaw problema biex minnha l-pajjiż joħroġ minn fuq ?

 

Fl-istess żmien li l-prezz tal-petrol u d-diesel qed jispara l-fuq il-Gvern qiegħed iħejji biex joħroġ b’sistema ġdida ta’ tassazzjoni tal-karozzi li tkun tirrispetta l-kriterji tad-direttivi tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

 

Il-borma fuq tlieta toqgħod. It-tielet sieq hi t-trasport pubbliku.

 

Huwa ċar daqs il-kristall illi bil-prezz tal-fuel jispara l-fuq u b’taxxa ta’ reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi li tista’ tvarja skond jekk tkunx meqjusa bħala għodda ambjentali jew għodda fiskali l-istat tat-trasport pubbliku jista’ jkun determinanti. Bi transport pubbliku effiċjenti n-nies tagħmel għażla li jaqbel għall-but. Tuża’ tal-linja jekk tal-linja tkun effiċjenti. L-effiċjenza mhux biss fil-ħin u l-frekwenza iżda ukoll fir-rotot li fihom jingħata is-servizz.

 

L-effett ikun :

1) iktar nies tuża’ tal-linja, li bi dħul ikbar jista’ jkollhom bżonn ta’ inqas sussidji,

2) b’iktar nies fuq tal-linja jfisser inqas nies f’karozzi żgħar, inqas karozzi fit-toroq, inqas traffic jams,

3) inqas karozzi fit-toroq ifisser inqas dħaħen, kwalita’ tal-arja ħafna aħjar,

4) b’inqas spejjes fil-karozzi żgħar ifisser li n-nies ikollha iktar flus fil-but, ammont li meta tgħodd l-ispejjes kollha (xiri tal-karozza, insurance kull sena, service, petrol/diesel skond l-użu) tista’ titla mhux ħażin kuljum . 

 

 

Din hi opportunita ta’ darba.

Is-siegħa tal-verita’

 

Il-GRTU appellat lill-Gvern biex inaqqas it-taxxa fuq id-diesel.

 

Sarkozy appella lill-Unjoni Ewropea biex issib mezz kif jintlaħaq ftehim ħalli il-VAT  fuq il-fuel ma tibqax tiżdied maż-żieda fil-prezz taż-żejt, li jum wara jum qed jikser kull record.

 

Il-Gvern Ingliż għandu pressjoni kbira biex inaqqas it-taxxi ambjentali fuq id-diesel u l-petrol.  Għandu ukoll min qiegħed jinkoraġġieh biex ma jagħmel l–ebda pass lura.

F’Malta x’ser nagħmlu ?

Huwa l-mument tal-verita’. Huwa f’dan il-waqt li jistgħu jissarrfu d-dikjarazzjonijiet kollha li saru matul dawn l-aħħar xhur favur l-ambjent u l-ġustizzja soċjali. It-tnejn flimkien.

Fuq x’għandu jsir dwar is-surcharge diġa tkellimt f’dan il-blog iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa.

Iż-żieda fil-prezz taż-żejt ma tiddependix minna. Iżda kif nilqgħu għaliha minna biss jiddependi.

 

Huwa l-mument li nħarsu lejn l-istampa kollha u r-riforma konnessa mar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi tista’ tkun l-opportunita unika biex jitjiebu l-kredenzjali ambjentali tal-pajjiż.

Huwa l-mument li t-taxxi li nħallsu għar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi jkunu bbażati fuq l-impatti ambjentali (fosthom emissjonijiet u, għaliex le, parkeġġ). Imma ilkoll irridu nifhmu li t-taxxi ambjentali l-iskop prinċipali tagħhom mhuwiex li jinġabru l-fondi iżda li nibdlu l-imġieba tagħna. Għaldaqstant biex riforma serja fit-taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi tirnexxi jeħtieg li tkun akkumpanjata minn titjib sostanzjali fis-servizz tat-trasport pubbliku. Jekk irridu nirnexxu ma jistgħux jinfirdu.

 

Niftakru li jekk ikollna servizz tat-trasport pubbliku effiċjenti, il-prezz tal-petrol u d-diesel ma tantx ikun relevanti għal numru ikbar ta’ nies għax ħafna minna ma jkollhomx ħtieġa li jagħmlu użu mill-karozza tagħhom. Forsi jkun ukoll il-waqt li għal uħud karozza ma tibqax iktar neċessita.

 

 

Costing our Mobility

published 19 April 2008

by Carmel Cacopardo

Later this year a proposal for the overhaul of the car taxation regime in Malta will be up for discussion. This has already been indicated in a pre-budget document. It was then stated that the matter was an issue to be viewed within the longer term.

At present, car taxation in Malta is geared towards revenue generation, even if with a slight environmental flavour. Subject to a number of exceptions, the tax a new car is subject to on registration varies between 50.5 per cent and 75 per cent charged on its value and increasing with engine capacity (Motor Vehicles Registration Tax Act – First Schedule). Used cars are subject to different rates. Charges payable for the renewal of car licences also vary with engine capacity.

Any change in car registration taxation could well commence by defining objectives. Change is being triggered by the need to tackle the discriminatory nature of the tax when applied to new and used cars. A second objective is the urgent need to define environmental credentials in the very early days of this Administration. A third objective would most probably be the achievement of a neutral effect in car taxation revenues, namely that changes made would produce no net increase in the quantum of car taxes collected.

A green objective would be to reduce the hidden costs of car use which are being paid by the whole community. Costs incurred are not just financial: environmental and social costs have to be factored into the equation too. A truly green reform would ensure that environmental costs are discouraged through eco taxation while ensuring that changes do not bring about undesirable social effects.

The environmental costs would be reduced through making the polluter pay at such a rate that he would prefer not polluting to paying up. Car registration taxes and renewal of car licences can be used as eco taxes to discourage the use of cars and encourage patronage of public transport.

An efficient public transport system in Malta and Gozo would also indirectly address the negative environmental impacts generated by cars. It would provide a reliable cost-effective alternative, hence also satisfying the social need of effective mobility for all, with reduced costs. I do not aim in this short space to discuss reforms to public transport but it should suffice for the time being to state that it is imperative that investments made in public buses give returns to the community whose taxes are financing it year in year out. Public transport should not be limited to public buses but should also include other forms like sea transport (in Grand Harbour and Marsamxett).

Within this context I would suggest a different objective for changes required to fiscal/environmental/transport policies: introducing efficient and effective mobility by encouraging the reduction of cars from our roads, improving air quality while simultaneously ensuring that the public transport system is really efficient and effective.

Obviously, car importers, car dealers and all those involved in car repair and maintenance as well as car insurance would not be too enthusiastic about such a proposal. A reduction of cars on the road will affect their business. A reduction of emissions will also improve our health through a reduction of respiratory diseases.

Transport has been identified by the 2005 State of the Environment Report (the last to date, published in early 2006) as one of the major areas negatively impacting our environment – in particular the quality of the air we breathe. Yet, in the last five years only one policy initiative has been taken on the matter: congestion charging (CVA – Controlled Vehicular Access) for cars entering Valletta. On its own, the positive impact of this initiative is minimal. Within the context of a general overhaul of transport policy its effect could be increased exponentially.

So the time is ripe to consider all the issues relating to our mobility in a holistic manner. Reform car taxation, encourage the reduction of cars from the road but, at the same time, ensure that our mobility is increased through an efficient public transport system in both Malta and Gozo. While having cleaner air to breathe we will be in a position to reclaim our streets and cut back on costs borne by the community! A radical overhaul of our transport policies is required. Reforming car taxation is just one building block in the whole exercise.

On March 11, a few minutes after the commencement of his new term of office, the Prime Minister invited all those having a genuine interest in the environment to cooperate with the government “to find the best way (forward) in favour of sustainable development”. Positive words which, though late in the day, can be an adequate foundation for the development of environmental policy in Malta. They can also serve to neutralise past mistakes which have derailed many a positive vision.

Reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi – bdil fit-taxxa

Il-Ministru tal-Finanżi Tonio Fenech qal lis-Sunday Times li m’hemmx għalfejn noqgħodu lura milli nixtru l-karozzi. Dan qalu fil-kuntest ta’ rapport li kien hemm tnaqqis sostanzjali fil-bejgħ ta’ karozzi minn Novembru li għadda meta sar magħruf illi l-Gvern kien fi ħsiebu jirrevedi t-taxxa tar-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi. Issa fir-realta’ r-riforma ser tindiriza tlett affarijiet.

L-ewwel ser tindirizza t-twissija mill-EU li ma jistax ikun hemm ħlas ta’ VAT fuq it-taxxa tar-registrazzjoni. M’hemmx taxxa fuq taxxa.

It-tieni ser tindirizza d-diskriminazzjoni fir-rati tal-ħlas bejn karozzi ġodda u karozzi second hand. Biex dan ikun jista’ jsir il-Gvern ħabbar illi ser jorbot ir-rata tal-ħlas mal-emissjonijiet tal-karozzi. Kif dan ser isir għadu mhux magħruf. Hemm iżda bosta modi kif jista’ jsir. L-ewwel irid jiġi stabilit x’inhu l-oġġettiv : jiġifieri jekk huwiex wieħed finanzjarju jew inkella wieħed ambjentali. Inkella jekk għandux mit-tnejn. Minn dan jiddependi x’ser jipproponi l-Gvern.

Fix-xhur li ġejjin inkunu nafu għax ġa tħabbar illi fid-dokument ta’ qabel il-budget li normalment jiġi ppubblikat f’nofs is-sena ser tibda konsultazzjoni pubblika.