In its last meeting the Council of the Malta Developers Association (MDA) noted that that parcels of land within the Smart City site are being offered for sale to individual developers.
MDA has received a large number of complaints from its members, who insisted that this news goes to show that, despite foreign investors being given very advantageous conditions to the detriment of Maltese developers, the realisation of projects, originally intended to be financed totally with foreign money, ends up depending on the input of the local investor. This can only be considered as undervaluing of public property with no justified and proportional input benefiting the country. This had already happened in other cases, such as the Chambray project.
MDA realises that a project like that of Smart City needed a prestigious international developer to succeed and appreciates the positive spirit in which the project was launched in Malta. The prevalent negative international economic situation, however, does not impinge only on projects originally destined to provide foreign investment and users of developments, but also on the efforts of the small Maltese developer.
Once again, MDA insists that it cannot but express its serious disagreement with a system whereby Government gives advantageous conditions to foreigners to develop public land while individual developers of private land are hassled by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), and by excessive bureaucracy from practically all government departments and entities, besides the prevalent system of taxation on sale of property and the way it is applied.
Moreover, this contrasts with current Government policy that is intended to eke out the maximum possible income from its property, raising rents and ground rents to exorbitant levels. This has been happening in the case of renewal of all leases or ground rents. Meanwhile the property market remains depressed.
Only two weeks ago, an MDA delegation had the opportunity to discuss these problems in the property market with the Minister of Finance, Tonio Fenech, presenting him with a number of proposals intended to help the country overcome these difficulties without any substantial loss in Government revenue and without encouraging new development on virgin land.
In these circumstances, MDA appeals to Government to accept and adopt its requests and recommendations without any further delay.