Malta must shift away from dependency on construction, Finance Minister says

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Malta Developers Association CEO Deborah Schembri
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Malta Developers Association CEO Deborah Schembri

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 September, 2021 at 10:22 am by Andre Camilleri

Malta must shift away from its dependency on construction, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Friday.

The Labour government’s credibility in the field of employment and in the economy is recognised by the majority of people but “we must now gradually build and improve its credibility on the environment”, he said.

Speaking during a pre-Budget consultation meeting in Gozo, Minister Caruana said that over the last few years, government has undergone a serious change within the field of employment.

However, he emphasised that the environment and everything around us needs to evolve and improve.

“In this country we have always had a passion for construction. The urge to build has always been so. To a certain extent, even though the quality of life has increased, this continuous development of buildings makes people feel that open spaces and the environment are being threatened,” Caruana said.

He said that the solution “is to invest in people”.

Caruana explained that the mistake that politics has always made over the years, both on one side and the other, has always been to turn to construction as it is the easiest way to boost the economy.

“If we continue working in this way, like we’ve done over the years, we cannot expect a different result.”

“People are tired of seeing concrete and cranes around our island. I’m not saying that construction should be put to a halt, but we should consider other opportunities that give this country better growth, without touching or harming the environment,” Caruana said.

He said government will be prioritizing education, saying that “the more people are educated, the more opportunities as well as income they will have in their lives”.

Caruana added that “if we increase people’s potential, the country will gradually change. If we improve people’s skills, Malta’s economic activity will follow suit. This is what the 2022 Budget aims to do”.

He said that government is committed to investing in people.

Malta’s finances will also continue being strengthened, as Caruana said that “these are the foundation of everything a country does. To be able to improve Malta’s environment, we need to see that the country’s finances are on their feet – and they are”.

‘Construction should not be considered as an enemy’ – Malta Developers Association

Reacting to the comments made by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, the Malta Developers Association said that construction should not be considered as an enemy.

In a statement signed by CEO Deborah Schembri, the MDA said it understood the people’s sentiment but the solution is not to make an enemy of the industry but embrace laws and policies that are more environmentally-friendly.

What investors want are clear laws, certainty and the removal of excessive bureaucracy and they are ready to face the challenges of an economy built on environmental parameters and strategic planning for sustainable development.

The economy should not suffer, but neither should the 40,000 families whose livelihood depends on this “precious industry”, the MDA said.

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