Developers have urged the government to incentivise energy-efficient construction, saying the property sector needs financial backing to reach higher standards.

“This isn't merely an industry requirement but an environmental imperative,” Malta Developers Association president Michael Stivala said at the lobby group’s annual general meeting.

Stivala was confirmed as MDA president at the AGM, during which association members approved a new MDA council made up of Denise Xuereb as vice-president, Paul Attard as secretary general, Alfred Camilleri as treasurer and Pierre Galea, Leon Chetcuti, Malcolm Mallia, Anton Camilleri, Pio Vassallo as members.

The EU is moving towards imposing more stringent energy efficiency requirements on newly constructed buildings, despite reluctance from both major political parties in Malta to adopt the plan.

MEPs from both Labour and the PN voted against a planned new energy performance directive earlier this year, arguing that the regulation would impose costly requirements on individual citizens.

MDA president Michael Stivala addresses the AGM. Photo: MDAMDA president Michael Stivala addresses the AGM. Photo: MDA

Speaking at the MDA AGM, Stivala argued that there was an inevitable correlation between quality and financial investment and said Malta’s property construction and development sector needed financial backing to be able to move up a notch.

He also reiterated his concerns about red tape tying up the sector, saying developers had to navigate a bureaucratic maze to get their job done.

“The industry currently has to navigate through consultations with over 21 institutions without deriving any noticeable improvement in quality or additional benefits. We must address this,” Stivala said, echoing remarks he has made on several occasions in the recent past.

Highlighting the significance of the industry, Stivala said the MDA represents a workforce of 30,000 people in direct employment and contributed millions through taxes and VAT revenue. Any sectoral slowdown would impact the nation’s economy, he said.

Prime Minister Robert Abela, who delivered the event’s keynote speech, recognised the contribution that the sector had made to Malta’s economy since 2012 but said priorities had evolved.

“Quality must be the lynchpin around which the industry revolves,” he said, saying the construction industry must align with Malta's environmental goals, particularly targeting carbon-neutral buildings.

Opposition leader Bernard Grech, who also spoke at the AGM, acknowledged the importance of the construction sector and said it was of paramount importance for standards to be kept high.

“We must establish an ecosystem for the industry to flourish, ensuring that operators not meeting the required standards are duly addressed,” he said.

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