The number of hearings by the new public contracts review board has doubled from 48 last June to 88, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today during a visit to the board’s offices.

He said the European Commission had identified the Maltese contract review process as the longest in the EU. But over the last six months, the appeal process was shortened to six weeks from three months with administrative costs going down from €1,600 to €700.

The minister said that preference would be given to projects backed by funds that would otherwise be irrevocably lost. A new fast track system would give preference to EU-funded projects and health and education public contract reviews in an attempt not to lose any EU funds.

Board chairman Anthony Cassar said the largest number of appeals came from local councils. More than 80 per cent were trivial.

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