Firstly I want to state that I am no economist nor expert but here are my 2 cents. Recently I have been having some discussions with my friends and close relatives and something really struck me. I came to a realization that even though most of us are in above-average paying jobs, in private and public sectors and have post graduate degrees, we are young property owners, who are all struggling to make ends meet. We are all baffled how for example buying property or renting, essential groceries as well as prices for eating out here in Malta were comparable to those in foreign countries with better wages than ours (some of us have lived in these countries or have friends who do). I was curious to see whether there was any statistical evidence that would present a reason to my (and our collective) concern. I first came across a study by Papadopoulos 2020 (link: https://ceoworld.biz/2020/02/03/most-expensive-countries-in-the-world-to-live-in-2020/) which states that Malta is the 26th most expensive country to live in (ranking 20th and 30th out of 132 countries for rent index and groceries index respectively) and yet Malta faired very low under “local purchasing power index” where Malta placed 80th out of 132 countries. This started to shed some light on the discussions I was having. I then came across a report focusing in EU countries; https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/232558/1/175267751X.pdf which acknowledged that “living costs in Southern Europe are considerably higher than in Eastern Europe, purchasing power is more impacted by the fact of having relatively low nominal minimum wages: minimum wage recipients in Malta (5.24 PPS), Portugal (4.71 PPS) and Greece (4.50 PPS) now have lower real purchasing power than those in some Eastern European EU Member States.” The study also noted that whilst in countries such as Latvia, the minimum wage rose by 13%, in contrast, Malta had only had a “mere” increase of 1%. And it concluded that “according to the Commission’s calculations”, an increase “of well above 30% would be required in Malta” I think this is an issue that needed to be addressed yesterday. People in Malta are feeling the crunch. Ensuring people have an adequate purchasing power means a better quality of life.
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