Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 10 May 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated 1310

Property sales down by almost a fifth: Property sales down by 18.2% last month, but values were up – NSO: When compared to April 2022, real estate sales dropped by over a fifth last month, although promise of sale agreements increased by just over 4%. Official data that was released on Wednesday. According to the NSO, there were 918 final deeds of sale for residential property, which is an 18.2% reduction from April of the previous year. The Malta Developers Association rebuffed rumours of a downturn in March, despite the fact that all monthly sales statistics this year had decreased compared to last year. When compared to April 2022, the value of the deeds last month was €260.6 million, an increase of 9.4%.

Malta faces danger of water shortage – Nat Geographic: According to a report by the National Geographic Society and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Malta is one of the top European nations with the greatest danger of water shortages. The report emphasizes how Malta experiences bigger water gaps than everywhere else in Europe, along with portions of Spain, Portugal, and France. The gap in water availability between supply and demand is known as the water gap. Climate change and increasing sea levels, which run the danger of depleting the islands’ groundwater by as much as 16% over the next 80 years, are among the challenges to Malta’s water supply. Long-term consequences of this shortfall are expected to include decreased rainfall and an increase in water demand.

Major reforms ahead in public sector – PPS: Civil service head Tony Sultana said that reforms in the public sector need to be implemented, and this is being done with sensitivity in light of different realities in different sectors. Addressing the first public service expo, he said that the message is unequivocal; everyone needs to bear his responsibilities, from the highest to the lowest. Mr. Sultana said that the decisions need to be taken with respect to the workers and the public, who always expect more from the public service.

Morning Briefing

AI-based software to fight tax cheats, Minister announces

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana revealed that the tax department will use AI-based software that will automatically warn authorities when a person or business’s declared income does not match their amassed wealth. According to Caruana, this will make it more simpler and quicker for the authorities to identify and address tax evasion right away. Caruana referred to a sophisticated statistical analysis system (SAS) that uses artificial intelligence to gather information from various registries and bank accounts in order to assess the person’s cash deposits and illiquid assets, such as real estate, land, vehicles, and boats, in an effort to help the tax department keep track of income and tax dues much more quickly and effectively. (Times of Malta)

Road traffic accidents in first quarter of 2023 increased 6.3% over previous year
In the first three months of 2023, there were 3,822 traffic accidents, up 6.3% over the same period last year. According to data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), the number of fatalities from traffic accidents rose by 13.3% to 367 in 2023. There were 96 people who had suffered severe injuries, including 52 drivers, 8 passengers, and 36 pedestrians or bikers. (Maltatoday)

Gozo grouping calls for urgent need to safeguard heritage

A new forum calling itself ‘Għal Għawdex’, a joint effort of seven Gozitan organisations, have launched a plan of action to strike a just balance between what they deem as an urgent need to safeguard Gozo’s heritage, including the built and natural environments, and the promotion of the island’s economic growth and prosperity. The forum members said that they do not want Gozo to turn into an urban jungle like Malta, and have therefore put forward eight talking points on development in Gozo. The coalition is urging stronger architectural regulations and the use of conventional materials in new construction, such as limestone, in order to prioritize development design. Additionally, it is demanded that scheduled structures adhere to height restrictions and that a tightly enforced 150-metre buffer be maintained around historic and scheduled monuments. (TVM)

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