CHOGM 2015 costs more… Almost twice as much in ten years

Vast majority of expenses related to accommodation

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that was held last November cost more than twice its predecessor that was held in Malta in 2005. Last year’s CHOGM cost no less than EUR 13 million not including preparatory works such as road works and other infrastructural work.

In fact in December 2005, then Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi told parliament that the total cost of CHOGM was within budget at Lm 2.3 to 2.4 million which means around EUR 5.3 million. Eventually the cost was revised to LM 2.6 million or closer to EUR 7 million.

In his statement to Parliament, Dr Gonzi had referred to the international media exposure for Malta which was substantial. This time the government boasted that half a billion Euros of publicity was generated by the 2015 summit although so far this claim is quite questionable as almost nothing has been seen in terms of trade deals or follow up business generated from the summit.

According to comments made by Foreign Minister George Vella in local media some months before the summit, CHOGM 2015 was supposed to cost ‘around EUR 7 million’. The event was held in Malta by chance as it was meant to be held in Mauritius, which, however, backed out in protest over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, where the last Commonwealth summit was held. Malta stepped in and offered to host the 53 Commonwealth heads of State and of government.

According to information tabled in Parliament earlier this week, EUR 13.5 million were spent on the organization of the Commonwealth summit last year, with the highest expenditure going for hospitality at EUR 4,782,005.  Information and professional services cost €2 million each. There was also income of EUR 1.1 million, with the net expenditure amounting to €12.4 million.

The total cost for the Valletta Migration Summit that achieved practically nothing in terms of policy was EUR 5.2 million.

The bulk of the expenses on preparatory works included €10,470,000 for road works. Another EUR 642,243.07 was spent for line marking and signage.  Amongst other expenses for the Valletta Migration Summit was the infamous ‘knot’ monument that cost almost EUR 280,000.