Negative IIP stories overshadow extensive benefits it has brought about, says Julia Farrugia Portelli

Parliamentary Secretary says citizenship scheme has provided millions of euros for social causes

The Citizenship Parliamentary Secretary,  Julia Farrugia Portelli
The Citizenship Parliamentary Secretary, Julia Farrugia Portelli

Julia Farrugia Portelli has lamented that negative news concerning the cash-for-passports scheme has unfortunately overshadowed the good which has come about as a result of the programme.

The Citizenship Parliamentary Secretary said the scheme has resulted in €544 million being poured into the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF), a good portion of which is used for social causes to help the vulnerable.

Farrugia Portelli was speaking on Monday, during a workshop organised by the Investment Migration Council on citizenship by investment.

A MaltaToday survey last Sunday showed that an absolute majority of people disagreed with the sale of Maltese citizenship to wealthy foreigners.

Farrugia Portelli said that the positives of the scheme were rarely picked up by the media. "On the contrary, in the past two weeks the IIP dominated the news because of statements allegedly made by a particular agent," she said.

The parliamentary secretary said she would not comment about the case itself, which was now the subject of a number of investigations.

"It is a pity that such stories overshadow the extensive benefits in many areas [which the IIP scheme has brought on]," she said.

She went on to underline that "accredited agents are expected to ensure high standards in their profession."

"This episode should be a lesson that we should not slip up in our behaviour," she said.

Scheme funding social projects of national importance

Out of the €544 million the scheme has generated, over €90 million have been used to fund social projects of national and public importance, including to help vulnerable families, Farrugia Portelli said.

This includes millions which will go towards investment in the latest technology at Mater Dei Hospital she said, including the purchase of machines for certain procedures which will produce lower levels of radiation, therefore reducing the chance of harm to patients.

The money is also being used for various other initiatives, amongst them to refurbish health centres in Malta and to fund the purchasing of  apartments in London by Puttinu Cares for Maltese patients receiving medical care in the UK.

Moreover, those purchasing Maltese citizenship have also made over 625 donations, which are voluntary, to NGOs, valued at a total of over €4 million and which will be used for various sectors, including arts and culture, Farrugia Portelli added.

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