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Malta’s Planning Authority turned a €9 million profit in 2018 with the country’s construction boom leading to massive revenues for the government body.

According to the PA’s latest financial statements, it recorded a profit of €9.2 million in 2018, up from the €8.3 million recorded in 2017. The Authority had only just started turning a profit for the first time ever the year prior, with then-Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius telling Parliament that the PA was €3 million in the green by the end of 2016.

The financial statements, which were tabled in parliament following a parliamentary question from Claudio Grech, also revealed that the PA’s assets have soared in recent years.

By the end of 2018, the total assets of the PA stood at €41 million, an €11 million increase from the year before. Its cash flows have also increased substantially, standing at around €18 million in the financial statements.

A reason behind the increase was a significant increase in revenue, which jumped up from €25 million in 2017, to around €35 million in 2018.

The PA’s biggest earner is development permit fees, particularly due to  Malta’s never-ending construction boom, which reached its peak in 2018 and 2019. The authority pocketed over €18 million for permit fees in 2018, up by €8 million from the previous year. 

Fines are just a fraction of the PA’s total income, despite rampant renegade contractors, with the PA earning around €2.2 million in 2018. Worryingly, despite the increase in work, the increase in fines from 2017 to 2018 is practically negligible.

Expenses did also increase but by a far lower margin, with salaries (€13 million) making up the bulk of expenditure.

The Planning Authority remains a controversial institution despite constant promises of reform. Malta has seen a development boom in recent years at the expense of public spaces, the environment and aesthetics while a few make millions.

There also exists a perception that money-hungry developers remain above the law with politicians firmly in their pockets, with dubious decisions, deaths, and building collapses far too common.

To help address the issues, Lovin Malta has set up the Planning Web, the country’s first transparent and open platform letting you look at the ins and outs of Malta’s urban planning sector.

What do you think of the figures?