MDA, PN agree on need to fix infrastructure and public transport

Malta Developers Association President Sandro Chetcuti stressed the importance of fixing local infrastructure and public transport in a meeting it held on the request of the Nationalist Party.

The meeting, held at The Palace Hotel, Sliema, was between the MDA Council and a delegation headed by party leader Dr Simon Busuttil and composed of the two deputy leaders, Dr Beppe Fenech Adami and Dr Mario de Marco, MPs Ryan Callus, Marthese Portelli and Robert Arrigo, André Grech, president of the PN’s SME Forum, and two prospective candidates, Dorian Sciberras and Sam Abela.

Mr Chetcuti affirmed the MDA’s determination to give a contribution to every government that is running the country. He expressed satisfaction that Dr Busuttil and Dr Portelli arranged for the MDA to meet with the eNGOs around a table for the first time. “Although it is good to complain and draw attention to environmental issues, it is not enough,” Mr Chetcuti said. “These issues have to be solved once and for all.”

Today the industry is witnessing a boom but it is wary about ensuring that there should not be any over-revving of the economic engine. The MDA has come up with no fewer than 15 proposals that were taken on board during the last three Budgets. “They were always policies aimed at benefiting everyone, especially the consumer,” he added.

Mr Chetcuti pointed out that many foreigners were being attracted to come and live and work here. “We also face the challenge of not finding where to invest except in property because the other investments are all riskier and property attracts a more long-term investment,” he said.

Every government has to exercise caution in the way that public land is given away. “Apart from the importance of good planning, public land should not be sold at below the market value because this would be causing great damage to whoever is investing,” he said.

Mr Chetcuti paid tribute to the good work of the various affiliate bodies within the MDA: the renewable energy suppliers, the Malta Furniture Manufacturers Organisation (MFMO), the quarry owners, the road contractors and the Federation of Estate Agents.

He stressed the importance of energy efficiency and noted: “We are seeing that there are ambitions and enthusiasm on the part of the government for certain projects to be undertaken, which is a good thing. However, if we do not fix the infrastructure and do not look after public transport everything is going to collapse. So this is something we need to tackle with greater than urgency.”

Dr Busuttil paid tribute to the role and work of the MDA, giving a strong voice to the construction industry and congratulated Mr Chetcuti for being the engine behind the MDA. He went on to present three concrete ideas that form part of his party’s vision to enable the construction industry to give its contribution to improve the quality of life in the country:

  1. Give incentives, including reviewing downwards capital gains tax, so that property being built will reach high levels of energy efficiency, and promote urban regeneration of areas like Marsa, Hamrun, Qawra and Bugibba without creating artificial demand.
  2. Give fiscal incentives to companies working in the construction sector to raise their standards in terms of equipment, plant and facilities to enable excellence to be achieved.
  3. Make the biggest investment in infrastructure the country has ever seen, from pavements and roads in all localities to a national master plan that is multi-annual – at least 10 years. This will include a new, state-of-the-art public transport system of light railway that will link the country nationally and, if geologically possible, a tunnel linking Malta and Gozo.