Decline in construction sector enters second year -report
The decline in the construction sector has extended into its second consecutive year, contracting by 14% during the initial three months of 2023 when juxtaposed with the corresponding period in the previous year, as outlined in an economic analysis conducted by audit firm KPMG. This downward trajectory has endured for a year and a half. KPMG underscores that this marks the sixth successive quarter wherein a reduction in the sector’s gross value added has been observed in comparison to the same timeframe a year earlier. In particular, the report highlights that the construction of buildings, which represents the most substantial sub-segment within the construction industry, has undergone a contraction of 12.5%, while specialised services like demolition and utility operations have seen a decrease of nearly 16%. (Times of Malta)
9.5% increase in permits for new dwellings – NSO
During the second quarter of 2023 a total of 2,453 new dwellings were approved, registering an increase of 9.5 per cent when compared to the same quarter last year, the NSO said Monday. These were approved through 494 separate permits. When compared to the corresponding quarter of 2022, the number of building permits increased by 12.8 per cent while the number of approved new dwellings increased by 9.5 per cent. The average number of approved new dwellings per building permit stood at 5.0. (The Malta Independent)
Malta has a mental health crisis- Chamber of Psychologists
Malta is grappling with a “mental health services crisis” as heightened awareness drives greater demand for government assistance. This surge in requests is exacerbating waiting lists and causing burnout among psychologists, as stated by Gail Debono, President of the Chamber of Psychologists. Debono conveyed this message through a Facebook post, suggesting that addressing the situation could involve enhancing the sectoral agreement governing psychologists’ collaboration with the government. The existing agreement lapsed in December, and negotiations for a new one are currently ongoing. Debono explained that her post was prompted by public criticisms of public mental health services following recent suicides. While the increased awareness about seeking help is positive, it has led to an unprecedented influx of individuals seeking government mental health services. Despite longer waiting lists, timely intervention remains imperative, she added.
Police, soldiers to be incentivised to work beyond 25 years – PM
Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced that official including police officers, firefighters and soldiers will be offered financial incentives to continue serving in their respective roles after completing 25 years of duty. Speaking on ONE, the PM revealed that Cabinet has granted its approval for this initiative. Further details regarding these incentives are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Abela stated: “In the upcoming weeks, the government will provide comprehensive details and put into action the proposed measures aimed at offering financial incentives to those who have fulfilled 25 years of service in disciplined organisations, encouraging them to extend their tenure within the same institution.” Presently, individuals serving in the police force, the Armed Forces of Malta, and the Civil Protection Department are entitled to a pension after completing 25 years of service. (Maltatoday)
Gladiator movie to get €46m in rebates
The sequel to the blockbuster Gladiator will receive a rebate of €46.7 million from Maltese taxpayers, a news report has revealed.
Administered through the Malta Film Commission, the government has committed to providing €46,653,961 to a subsidiary under Paramount Studios for the development of Ridley Scott’s grand sword-and-sandals cinematic endeavur. This financial incentive is part of an extensive monetary program that offers production companies the opportunity to receive a refund of up to 40% if they choose to shoot their productions in Malta. This rebate now holds the record for the largest government assistance to the film industry within the European Union. (Times of Malta)
Police arrest 17 illegal migrants
Law enforcement officers detained 17 undocumented immigrants in a crackdown at a lodging facility in Bugibba. The Police Force issued a statement indicating that during the operation, they examined more than 50 individuals, with 17 among them discovered to be residing in the country without proper authorisation. The individuals in question, originating from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, and Ghana, were taken into custody, initiating the deportation procedure to remove them from the country. (TVM)