The President of the Malta Developers Association, Sandro Chetcuti, today outlined the proposals the MDA is putting forward to the Labour Party for consideration ahead of the general election on 3 June, 2017.
Referring to the KPMG report due to be published shortly, he said that the minimum of 30,000 people who are employed both directly, indirectly or by induced effect in the construction industry represent 17% of the gainfully employed.
In terms of the phenomenal growth of the construction industry of 40% between 2011 and 2015, this meant that whereas it contributed €830 million to the national economy in 2011, this had increased to €1.2 billion in 2015, excluding the multiplier effect, which if taken into account went up to €2.55 billion.
This was thanks to the hard work carried out continuously by the Malta Developers Association and through the continuous contact with all branches of Government. Mr Chetcuti said that four years ago the construction industry was on a cliff edge and, thanks to the communication and dialogue established, where the MDA came out with concrete proposals, it managed to achieve these positive results.
“The MDA wants to work for continuity to create more opportunities for employment and generate more work in the sector,” he said.
The MDA’s proposals are:
Lowering capital gains tax from 8% to 5% so that the development will reach the near to zero renewable energy targets set for 2020;
Removal of stamp duty for first time buyers, with consideration also for those who are separating or divorcing;
Exemption from stamp duty on property acquired in Urban Conservation Areas and Gozo;
Reform of the Land Registry Department;
Lower fees for property owners with minor regularities who currently face the same fees to regularise their position as those with major irregularities;
Registration and licensing of developers who are members of the MDA;
Further representation of MDA nominees on government boards and authorities related to the construction industry;
The creation of a Minister for the Construction Industry;
The payment of succession duty once the property is sold not within six months of the passing away of the deceased;
Fair compensation or aggressive incentives on scheduled properties and those of historical importance.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, in his reply, announced that within the first few weeks of being elected, real estate agents, a section within the MDA, are to be regulated. Competitiveness Minister Emanuel Mallia has worked very hard on this legislation.
He promised to look into boosting the budget of the Property Malta Foundation and pointed out that the entire electoral manifesto of the Labour Party had been costed. “We know where the money is coming from and we know how and when we are going to be implementing the measures over a span of five years,” he affirmed.
He said none of the measures introduced by the government were aimed specifically at the construction industry but were aimed at boosting disposable income. He agreed that some of the MDA’s proposals had been incorporated in the Labour Party manifesto.
The new Labour government will be investing heavily in infrastructure. “We understand that we have to help our contractors to invest in equipment in such a way that they can compete so that this work will be kept in Malta,” he said.
Finally, he said the Individual Investor Programme, which the MDA’s members supported from the start, will be extended at the end of the current cycle and, although it is the best in the world, will be improved further together with the Association’s support.