The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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Budget 2024: Plans to publish national strategy for protection, appropriate treatment of animals

Semira Abbas Shalan Monday, 30 October 2023, 20:42 Last update: about 10 months ago

The government on Monday announced plans to publish a national strategy for the protection and appropriate treatment of animals next year.

It will also continue to sustain financial schemes for animal sanctuaries, and will also work to repair and maintain animal sanctuaries.

The announcements were made by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana in his Budget speech.

Caruana spoke of the changes and investment needed for the country's infrastructure.

To diversify the energy mix, the minister said it is working on the country's energy policies to increase the capacity of energy generation, continue to strengthen and increase new distribution infrastructure with emphasis on diversification of renewable energy sources, as well as to keep prices affordable while moving towards clean energy generation through renewable technology.

The Budget reads that through the national policy for energy development from offshore renewable sources, government has shown the direction it wants to move towards. The submissions made in the public consultation are being analysed by the Energy and Water Agency to be integrated into the final strategy.

At the same time, the minister said that Interconnect Malta is carrying out various technical studies, financial and legislative, to trigger the process for development of these projects with government's goal being that in the first months of next year, the next the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire will be published (PQQ).

To continue to increase the national grid's resilience, as well as provide flexibility in terms of the system's capacity which accommodates additional renewable energy, government is working towards implementing projects for mass storage through the use of batteries.

The first project for this will be based in the Delimara Power Station and financed through European funds with a budget of €35 million, and the second project will be at station 'A' in Marsa, financed by the RRF with a budget of €12 million.

Government will also start work on developing a strategy for the use of hydrogen in Malta, so that where possible, the processes which today still use diesel or other fuel oils, and cannot switch to electric, would have the chance of clean hydrogen fuel without emissions.

In 2022, Enemalta started an investment programme of €90 million over six years in order to strengthen the distribution system of electricity around Malta and Gozo. The minister said that in 2024, investment will double, to accelerate the implementation of the plan to strengthen the distribution network.

he said that the implementation of this plan is at a more advanced stage than planned.

The minister said that it also has plans for strengthening the distribution system through distribution centres and substations, as well as strengthening the medium voltage network.

The minister said that Enemalta will also be investing in more emergency plants so that if damage occurs in one of the electricity generation sources at peak demand, electricity supply will be supplied by the other sources.

Immediately, Enemalta will be temporarily renting a capacity of up to 60MW in emergency plants.

He said that government will continue to invest in the restoration of abandoned historic reservoirs.

The minister said that the project to improve the Sant Antnin sewage treatment plant is being commissioned and is expected to start in the coming months, totalling an expenditure of around €7 million, which will increase the sewage treatment capacity in the South of Malta by more than 20%.

On waste management infrastructure, the minister said that the waste management sector is implementing government's long-term vision, and that this year there was a record decrease registered for black bags, while the amount of recyclable material sent for recycling, and the tonnage of organic waste collected, reached the highest record registered.

He said that the Waste-to-Energy project will collect waste which cannot be recycled or reused in other ways, which used to go to landfills. This waste will be generated into energy, to further contribute to the electricity demand with green energy

On maritime infrastructure, government will make changes to the Merchant Shipping Act next year, and will start implementing a new policies for superyachts.

It will also continue works on the extension of the Pinto and Lascaris quays with an investment of €25 million. Works have also started on building a new cargo facility in the areas of Ras Hanzir near Kordin.

On the shore-to-ship project, he said that the first phase of the project, with an investment of €33 million, will be finished next year. Works on the Pinto 4 and 5 Quays will be finished next year.

Preparatory work related to the second phase has also commenced, which consists of the installation of shore-to-ship systems in the southern part of the Grand Harbour.

On the aviation infrastructure, the minister said government will start implementing new policies for aviation, as well as the Act on Air Navigation.

On capital projects in the Grand Harbour, he said that it will work towards the regeneration of Marsa and continue embellishing and improving accessibility in Senglea and Kalkara. Works in the Marsamxett Harbour are also undergoing, to continue regenerating Independence Square, the restoration on Casa Bolino, restoration on social accommodation buildings and on the vertical lift near Peacock Gardens.

In the past months, government started exploring a number of projects related to land reclamation, he said. Caruana said that works are underway on a number of sites where, along with experts, government is analysing the best possible intervention so that it could come up with more proposals for discussion, and eventually commence applications with the competent authorities.

He also said that government is working on the development of the Gozo Airfield, which will improve connectivity to Gozo, and open the doors for new niches, including drone testing and sky diving.

Farming

In the 2024 Budget, Caruana said that that it will establish a new agency responsible for agricultural land, to register agricultural rentals and establish measures towards crop protection.

Government will also remove succession tax on rented agricultural land, or land which is worked by professional farmers. Government will also start a process to give opportunities for young farmers to benefit from financial instruments to help them buy agricultural land.

It will also introduce labels which identify local products and promote tracking for vegetables, fruit and fresh fish, promoting the use of local products.

Next year will also see the first Maltese products registered as Product Designated of Origin, he said. In addition, government will also organise anew the Malta AgriFair next year.

He said that the government will also keep prices of flour and animal fodder stable, and will also allocate a fund for the restructuring of the milk sector.

It will also give incentives to fishermen who have more than one vessel so that they can employ young fishermen. In addition, government will also introduce financial instruments accessible for fishermen who want to buy their first vessel.

Caruana said that this investment will see facilities for fishermen are refurbished with the rebuilding of the piers and slipways, as well the installation of more modern, efficient and safe winches.

Government will be setting up an Agency that will be responsible for research and development and implement projects in aquaculture and fishing, where in the coming weeks, government will issue a call for interest to attract aquaculture investment in the country's exclusive economic zone.


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