Updated 6.09pm with PN statement

Planning Minister Aaron Farrugia has accused the Opposition of intentionally dragging out the process to set up a new construction sector regulator and has gone public with an appeal for them to speed things up.

Farrugia said that he had spent three weeks chasing the Nationalist Party to nominate its representative to the Building and Construction Authority board. They have not yet done so, he said.

The PN is also delaying parliamentary debate of a Bill that would make the BCA operational, the minister believes.

He said that a parliamentary committee meeting that was originally planned for this week would now not take place until next week at the earliest, due to the Opposition putting things off.

“This is filibustering,” Farrugia told Times of Malta when contacted. “It is slowing down our resolve to reform the industry.” 

In a Facebook post on Monday afternoon, Farrugia said that if it were up to him, "we would have met today". 

Debate about the BCA made headlines last week after it emerged that the developers’ lobby wants to have a representative on the regulator’s board, prompting warnings from environmental activists that allowing that would effectively give developers a say in regulating themselves.

PN endorses MDA position

The Nationalist Party has endorsed that position. Its spokesperson for construction, Hermann Schiavone, told parliament that both the Malta Developers Association and Kamra tal-Periti should sit on the BCA board.

In a reply to questions about Schiavone’s statement, a PN spokesperson defended that position.

“Different authorities in different fields have stakeholders on their boards,” the spokesperson said, citing examples of lobby groups sitting on the Malta Enterprise board or of hotel and restaurant lobbyists forming part of the Malta Tourism Authority board.

“The experience of stakeholders being on boards proved to be a positive one.”

Minister Farrugia, on the other hand, said on Saturday that he is inclined to keep the BCA board composition as it is currently proposed, with three warranted professionals to the board, in the form of an architect, a lawyer and engineer, but no lobby group representatives.

The PN spokesperson also brushed aside Farrugia's concerns about its delay in nominating a BCA representative.

"The PN has already identified a person to be nominated to the board. This bill is still at committee stage and hence there is ample time for the nomination of such person," the spokesperson said. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us