The government is planning a public-private partnership which would see public conveniences throughout Malta given a facelift, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said in Parliament this evening.

Replying to a parliamentary question, the minister said the project would be important even for tourism. Current standards were unacceptable, he said. This applied generally to both public conveniences run by local councils and those run by the central government.

Local councils would be consulted and involved in the consortium. A call for expression of interests would be issued before a model of management was decided.

The project would start with a pilot project in a central part of Malta and charges for users would be kept as low as possible, or waived if there were other activities.

Earlier, Justice and local Government Minister Owen Bonnici said the PPP would be nothing like that reached by Valletta council regarding a public convenience in that locality. In terms of that agreement, people were paying for the service, but the government was paying for water and electricity.

He said the Government Property Division has started billing the contractor for the rent.

Dr Bonnici stressed in reply to questions that nothing would be taken from local councils, but a mechanism was needed between the private sector, local councils and the government to raise standards of public conveniences.

The question and related supplementary questions took all of Question Time, with questions having been asked by MPs Anthony Agius Decelis, Joseph Farrugia, Marlene Farrugia, Censu Galea and David Agius.

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