Government unveils Malta Metro studies / Malta News Briefing – Saturday 2 October 2021

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Update 1900h – The government on Saturday evening published the results of a study which deals with the possibility of having an underground system in Malta. The metro system as proposed will include three metro lines with a total of 35km of tracks and 25 stations across Malta’s main urban area. The study suggests that the metro system will mostly be underground, with a small part of it above ground.

The proposed metro system will include three metro lines with a total of 35km of tracks and 25 stations across Malta’s main urban area. It will be almost entirely underground, with a small section raised above ground. The study was carried out by Arup Group, a London-based design, engineering and planning firm. Prime Minister Robert Abela and Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg attended the event in which the system was proposed.

Donald McDade from Arup said the proposed system would address the urgent need to reduce traffic congestion in Malta.  The proposed underground system will use twin tunnels at an average of 10 to 12 metres below street level to minimise the impact on the properties above.  Excavated material will be reused for land reclamation, subject to further environmental analysis and assessment.

Updated 1300 Mid-Day Briefing

PN launches Pre-Budget Document

Recovery, Growth and Success – The Right Time for Change is the theme of this year’s pre-budget document presented by the Nationalist Party. PN leader Bernard Grech said that the PN believes the public deserves a fair return on taxpayer money. Two contracts alone, the Vitals and Electrogas projects, sealed in very doubtful circumstances, are dealing a continuing blow to Malta’s competiveness while tying Government’s hands for decades with over a billion euro in payments and higher prices, Grech said. A PN government would secure a cut with the past on these contracts and secure real value for money in all public
utilities, he added.

Finance Shadow Minister Mario de Marco added that as “our traditional economic sectors are undergoing change, change that can seriously impact our competitiveness, Malta has no new emerging sectors to rely on. The PN, through this document, is putting forward proposals for Malta to recover, grow and succeed in the post-COVID world. This document is a reflection of our belief that Malta can do better, should do better, must do better”, he added.

The document is available here.

FIAU fines crypto firm

The FIAU, Malta’s AML agency has fined a payment processing company €435,576 for a series of anti-money laundering breaches linked to cryptocurrency. The fine was imposed after an inspection which revealed a number of regulatory breaches. The FIAU noted how Phoenix Payments Limited had shortcomings in the way the business collected information on customers’ business and occupation and their source of wealth and source of funds.

Covid-19 Update

A 35-year-old woman passed away while being Covid-19 positive, becoming Malta’s 459th victim of the virus. Health authorities reported 24 new cases and 21 recoveries, meaning active cases stand at 313.

Morning Briefing

Abela focuses on electoral reform, Grech on climate change, in Youth Parliament address

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the time was ripe on wide electoral discussion, including having fewer electoral districts, the possible appointment of technocrat Ministers and whether MPs should be full-timers. Addressing a session of the Youth Parliament. Abela expressed his opinion that 16-year-olds should be able to contest the general election. His counterpart, PN leader Bernard Grech focused on climate issues and jobs, urging youths to join the party in driving essential reforms. “We need to move from words to actions,” he said, expressing the PN’s ambition to replace half the cars in Malta with electric cars in 10 years. He also shared his views on construction and environment. “We can’t remain passive when we see our villages becoming dense and our agricultural land being swallowed up by buildings. We need our open spaces back” he insisted.

Former Pilatus official to be indicted with ML charges

The court found enough evidence against Claude Anne Sant Fournier, an ex-official at Pilatus Bank to proceed with an indictment on money laundering charges. Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech gave the ruling on Friday. Pilatus and Sant Fournier were jointly charged, on 2 September, with breaching the Money Laundering Act in 2018 and with committing similar offences in previous years. obligation to prevent financial crime. Last Summer, In August, the now-closed Pilatus Bank was fined a record €4.9 million for a “serious and systematic failure” to follow anti-money laundering legislation, especially the bank’s lax approach to due diligence on its customers.

Cabinet approves new Public Service strategy

The Cabinet of Ministers approved a new five-year strategy for the Public Service based on three pillars: People, Technology, and Service. These will embrace the principles of quality, accountability, and sustainability, which principles are also shared by the government. He added that the Public Service not only has a vision of where it wants to go but also what needs to be done. The Prime Minister described the Public Service as a leader in various sectors in our country, among others with the first Remote Working Policy, and in the environmental sector with the study to convert the whole fleet of Public Service vehicles to electric ones. He concluded that these reforms in the Maltese Public Service led our country to be chosen by an international publishing house to serve as case-study for other countries.

Covid-19 Update: 14 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Friday, while 30 patients recovered. During the last 24 hours a 66-year-old male died while Covid positive. Five patients are currently being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, none of whom in ITU.

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