Prime Minister hints at regeneration projects for Selmun Palace, Evans Building

Robert Abela said the private sector could be roped in for future regeneration projects at the two locations

Prime Minister Robert Abela hinted at regeneration projects, hand-in-hand with the private sector, in key areas like Selmun Palace and the Valletta Evans Building during his speech in parliament on Wednesday. 

Abela suggested that his government could issue expressions of interest, with the aim of roping in the private sector, on future regeneration and infrastructural projects.

"The private sector has shown interest in developing this place," Abela said, referring to Selmun Palace. He added that Evans Building in Valletta could be a project of immense potential. 

"We'll remain a government that keeps its door open to investors. We'll keep the door widen open for legitimate investors, both local and foreign," he said. 

Abela emphasised that his government will work to reduce any excessive bureaucracy, adding that the country should facilitate investment within the framework of its new priorities. 

On more controversial infrastructural projects, Abela insisted that any decision-making should be done with the common good in mind. "Some say they disagree with certain infrastructural projects in their area, but agree that the traffic problem must be solved. These are the type of decisions you'll find when you're in the seat of power."

Inflation and economy

Abela briefly referred to a recent Caritas study on the minimum budget needed to maintain a decent life in Malta. The study found that families are having to spend €100 more per month on basic foodstuffs compared to July 2020.

"No one can say that government didn't take concrete measures to care for people. If we hadn't intervened aggressively [in the market], we would now have one of the highest rates of inflation in the EU, instead of the lowest," he said. 

Abela added that the Labour government remained consistent by lowering taxes in past years. "We kept electricity, petrol, diesel, and gas prices low. Now look at what's happening around the EU and world: astronomical rises in prices."

But apart from keeping expenses low, Abela said his government will work to increase household income. He noted the two vouchers schemes implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to boost consumer spending, as well as various tax refund schemes and the pandemic stimulus cheques. 

However, Abela emphasised strongly that government will only be able to maintain such schemes and interventions if the economy remains robust.

"We can't be expected to do this if we don't bring in investment, create new jobs, and bring new opportunities. The economy is the key that sustains all this. A robust economy allows us to continue helping people. The economy will remain central to our government's project."