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Scheme extending lease period of Valletta businesses launched

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Land Minister Jason Azzopardi this morning launched a scheme extending the lease of Valletta business owners operating from government property to 45 years from six months.

Addressing a news conference, Dr Azzopardi explained that 475 government-owned shops in Valletta have a six-month lease agreement that is renewed once it expires.

This causes business owners problems when trying to get a bank loan to invest in their business.

Dr Azzopardi said that three years ago his ministry started working on the scheme, together with the Chamber of Commerce, organisations representing business owners in Republic and Merchants’ streets and the GRTU.

The scheme, which is completely voluntary, will open for a year on December 1. It will extend the rental period to 45 years, renewed automatically every 15 years.

It will also allow shop owners to sub-let their property, something that is currently not allowed.

Valletta will be split into four zones and rates will be established according to the zones.

These will be discussed with the shop owners and for the first three years, the rent will remain the same, increasing gradually between the fourth to eighth year with businesses starting to pay the agreed rate in the ninth year.

The scheme, Dr Azzopardi said, will help increase business and investment in Valletta.

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