Malta Developers Association President Sandro Chetcuti stressed the new guiding theme of the MDA, A strong economy, a sound environment, at the fifth annual general meeting of the association where he was confirmed as president for a two-year term.
He stressed that the two go hand in hand. “You can never have a good economy, if you neglect the environment,” he told a packed audience at Le Méridien St Julians Hotel. He had before him Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil, several government ministers, MPs from both sides of the House and many senior government officials.
Mr Chetcuti mentioned that it was with great satisfaction that the MDA’s proposals had been accepted by both governments and these had led to growth in the economy. Construction was one of the major pillars of the national economy. Property sales had increased year after year, going up from €1.2 billion in 2008 to over €2 billion last year.
The MDA is concerned about the environment. “We want to work within the development boundaries,” he affirmed. It was looking long term in accepting the DC15 which for the first time since 1990 was reducing the building footprint substantially in development zones.
He also stressed the need to lessen bureaucracy and for the members to be given straight answers in as short a time as possible when there are building applications.
Prime Minister Dr Muscat said that in its latest analysis on Malta the European Commission is stating that this year the country’s economy is going to expand the third largest growing economy in the EU. By the end of its current term the government would have eliminated the debt accumulated by the previous three administrations.
He praised the MDA for its foresight in accepting the new DC15 and committed to streamline bureaucracy by creating new authorities following the separation of planning and environment, along with a new authority for the former Lands Department.
A new approach is being taken through the creation of a corporation for the massive development that is expected in St George’s Bay and also in Mriehel through a public private partnership. Government is taking on valid suggestions of the Opposition on the management of open spaces, but it is also clamping down on enforcement.
Government has lowered stamp duty for developments in UCAs and is pushing for a three-year limit on inherited properties to ensure that what needs to be sold will not be held up by heirs who do not wish to co-operate.
Opposition leader Dr Busuttil spoke on the importance of the environment and how the Opposition was coming up with proposals to ensure it can move hand in hand with sustainable development in the country.
The party believes on creating incentives for more responsible, innovative and efficient use of land, including new spaces below ground and is conducting extensive public consultation on how this should be brought about.
The meeting was also addressed by Mr Carmel Cacopardo from Alternattiva Demokratika and David Curmi from Trade Malta.