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[WATCH] ‘External’ architects to be involved in valuation of government property

External architects to be engaged in Lands Authority’s valuation of government properties worth more than €400,000

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
25 August 2017, 1:19pm
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, junior minister Chris Agius and Lands Authority chairman Lino Farrugia Sacco (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, junior minister Chris Agius and Lands Authority chairman Lino Farrugia Sacco (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
‘External’ architects to be involved in valuation of government property
The Lands Authority will be issuing a public call to engage external architects who would help with the valuation of government properties worth more than €400,000.

The authority already employs its own architects but the government believes that engaging external architects would ensure the public gets value for money on sale of public land.

Capital Projects Minister Ian Borg explained that the authority envisage a system that would see three external architects carrying out such valuations. The government hopes to see the involvement of the Chamber of Architects in its new proposal.

Flanked by parliamentary secretary for property Chris Agius, Borg this morning toured the Lands Authrortiy building in Valletta, where he took the opportunity to thank employees for their efforts in implementing the reform.

"Your work concerns land: the most important resource our country has after human resource," Borg told workers at the authority. 

The reform saw the Lands Department being upgraded into an Authority, which Borg insists should give people “peace of mind when it comes to what is happening with their land”.

In a short encounter with the Authority's board, the minister said he appreciated there were still a number of difficulties that needed to be overcome, including the lack of a suitable space for the authority to carry out its functions.

The overhaul stemmed from an inefficient structure, which government insists was the reason why best value for money may have not always been the end result.

Another initiative that would contribute to a more efficient authority was better use of technology.

"We have been digitizing as much documentation as possible. Moreover there is now an online application so that people no longer have to come and personally ask for favour," Borg said, adding this would change the mentality and offer everyone a level playing field.

Furthermore, he said the authority's workforce was being strengthened, as was the joint office, with the aim of cutting down on the authority's backlog.  

"There will be people who will read this report and thinking that they had applied for scheme 10, 15 years ago, and haven't yet made any progress," he said, insisting that efforts were being made to reduce such cases.

Agius said that the authority was working relentlessly to achieve this with the board meeting every week, and sub-committees meeting everyday, including during the summer months.

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...