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The meeting between the developers section and the Prime Minister at Villa Francia was chaired by GRTU Director General Vince Farrugia, who in his introduction explained that the meeting was called following great concern within the developers, engineering and building contractors on the continued slow economic activity within the sector and the impact this is having on the economy as a whole. The Director General explained that in spite of the action proposed in Budget 2010 no real relief has been put into practice and the uncertainties on MEPA Reform have increased additional problems causing developers to curtail their investment and development project.
"GRTU called this meeting so that leading Developers and Contractors will have an opportunity to present to the Prime Minster their views as to how the situation can be remedied. The Developers and Contractors present all spoke and presented their views." said Vince Farrugia. Amongst the issues presented where:
First Time Buyers
Removal of stamp duty up to €116, 500 worth of property. Above that, the 3.5% will be chargeable on the balance above€116, 500;
Incentives need to be introduced due to the fact that the Banks themselves are not granting loans. The reintroduction of the interest-free loan scheme from Government is an example eg 25% of cost of acquisition;
The creation of a Private Public Partnership to address the Housing issue in order for Developers to be incentive to develop for first time buyers level of properties of acceptable standards
Abuse of any incentives or loan schemes should be heavily penalised and can be verified through prior researches;
Site notices to all neighbours in the vicinity is unacceptable;
Frivolous 0bjections – a system must be introduced to curb such objections such as a bond deposited by the objectors upon filing of objection;
Refusals of Full Permit by the same Board who would have granted an EIP permit thus convincing the developer to buy the property/site;
Compliance Certificates – is it necessary to incur the expense for compliance certificates for every unit when a developer builds a block, instead of a compliance for the entire block?
Major projects need to be granted/refusal of a permit within 6 months from application. Definition of large projects required;
Electricity Meter on construction sites – unacceptable that Enemalta removes the existing meter and consequently charges the developer for re installation;
Government Fiscal Valuation – Perit should value the property in the period between the konvenju and the final deed of sale. In the event of no konvenju, a period prior to the deed should be established for such valuation;
Value of property for fiscal purposes should always be that at the time of konvenju;
In order to incentivise the rent industry particularly the buy-to-let, fiscal incentives should be introduced such as the replacement of Income Tax and VAT with a final withholding tax on rentals of 15% instead of complicated maintenance reductions and other incentives
Such permits need to be liberalised – not restricted to certain areas – or abolished completely since such burdens and requirements are a disincentive to foreigners and discriminatory to property owners
In his concluding remarks the Prime Minister assured those present that the working committee promised in the Budget will be immediately set up so that action can be taken in harmony with Government's environmental, social and economic policies will be implemented without much delay.
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