The Malta Independent 24 September 2018, Monday

Developers propose PPP for affordable housing, rise in minimum wage for construction workers

Albert Galea Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 16:29 Last update: about 11 days ago

The Malta Developers Association (MDA) has proposed a public-private partnership between developers and the government to provide affordable housing to those in need during a pre-budget meeting with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and several members of the government on Wednesday.

The public-private partnership housing would cater for those who are 'genuinely' in need, and that the price of this accommodation would not exceed €400 per month, the association said.

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Another proposal that the MDA put forward to the government was a rise of 20% in the minimum wage of construction workers who possess a skills card.  Addressing the meeting, MDA head Sandro Chetcuti said that such a proposal was a commitment to support workers and continue contributing to creating a 'level playing field' in society.

Chetcuti also lauded the government's efforts in improving the country's transport infrastructure, saying that the new roads currently being built will surely result in sustainable development and that they are what 'every' Maltese wanted.

Chetcuti said that the MDA wanted to contribute towards society and that all the proposals it was tabling to the government for the upcoming Budget were not asking for anything.  Indeed, he said, they were proposals that show the MDA's commitment to helping those in need and ensuring a more level society, before saying that anyone who was 'prudent' over the years is living a better life today.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat meanwhile echoed this sentiment saying that despite the negative attention that the property market has attracted, around 80% of all Maltese own a piece of property.  This is one of the highest rates of ownership across Europe, Muscat said.

Muscat was pleased to note that the MDA was 'leading by example' in proposing a rise in minimum wage for construction workers with skill cards.  He noted that the matter of the skill cards was of paramount importance, and the MDA's commitment to this was a clear signal that an agreement in this sense could be reached.

The Prime Minister also raised points on the rental market, saying that the white paper that had been commissioned to look into the rental market will soon be published.  Muscat said that this would be a 'controversial' document, but it would base itself along the lines of trying to keep a free market.

However this being said, Muscat added that there was a need for certain basic regulations that had to be followed.  One such regulation is that all rental contracts must be submitted and registered with the authorities - something which does not happen in all cases today. 

He said that incentives were needed as part of a 'carrot and stick approach' to help landlords but to especially help tenants as well.  Muscat said that the government is not interested in helping people who 'wanted to rent villas', but wanted to help those who were genuinely in need.

Furthermore, Muscat also said that it has been proven by the KPMG report that the property market in Malta is 'clearly sustainable', and that any argument to the contrary is not in line with economic studies or fundamentals.

Muscat emphasised that all the proposals which will be compiled into this year's Budget (and subsequent Budgets to come) will be ones which are sustainable in the long term.  He said that only the last bit of data was left to be compiled, but it seemed apparent that another surplus would be announced at this year's Budget. 

Muscat concluded that it was important for the government to show a surplus as it proved that the economy is sustainable, year after year, and that the income it brings in makes up for the expenses it shells out.

Photos by James Caruana

 

 

 


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