(Amended) - Labour leader Joseph Muscat said today that Mepa was not competent to decide on the economic feasibility of land reclamation proposals and this was an issue for the government and the private sector.

He made his comment at a meeting with the Malta Developers' Association.

The association's delegation was led by its president Michael Falzon, who said the association had an open mind on Dr Muscat's proposal for land reclamation.

Dr Muscat said development should not mean only more building but should include better use of existing stock, training of workers and innovative ideas. 

He said Malta had already reclaimed land in Msida, the freeport, Marsa and Delimara.

Dr Muscat said he had his reservations about the conclusions of a Mepa study three years ago that land reclamation did not make economic sense. Mepa, he said, was not competent to decide on this matter and this was up to the government and the private sector.

He underlined the importance which the PL gave to the construction sector and said there was a need for a fiscal set-up which was fair, which did not encourage speculation and did not tax loss.

On the Permanent Residence Scheme, Dr Muscat said that while the PL recognised that there were problems, these should have been discussed with interested parties without the sort of actions taken by the government, which had undermined confidence in the country.

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