Half of monti hawkers to bow out, offer to cost €3 million

The Valletta monti in its current location. Photo Mark Zammit Cordina

The Valletta monti in its current location. Photo Mark Zammit Cordina

Around half of the 74 monti hawkers have taken up the government’s €80,000 offer to bow out of business, Economy Minister Chris Cardona confirmed this afternoon.

The minister said the total cost will come up to around €3 million but the monti will be able to be relocated to one side of Valletta’s Ordnance Street.

The offer was originally in the region of €40,000, up from the €23,000 offer the government had made in November to entice hawkers to give up their licence.

“We managed to strike a balance between the interests of the commercial community and the monti hawkers,” Dr Cardona said.

The Economy Minister added that the relocation agreement would be “crystallised” soon. He noted that this move would also bring about an upgrade in stalls and the range of products on sale.

While he confirmed that the design had been chosen last year following a contest overseen by a board presided over by the president of the Chamber of Architects, no further details were divulged.

Meanwhile, the Economy Minister lauded official data published today by the National Statistics Office which said that Malta’s economic growth last year reach 3.6 per cent – a 15-year high. He noted that this rate was four times as much as the average growth in the Eurozone countries.

Dr Cardona attributed these positive results to the “sound economic policy” adopted by the Labour government in the first three years of this legislature.

“The economic growth registered last year is more than double the PN’s forecast in the last general election,” he added.

Dr Cardona also pointed out that contrary to claims by the Opposition leader, wages had increased by 5.3 per cent while inflation had gone down by more than double since 2013.

A 28 per cent increase in foreign direct investment and a rise of €315 million in exports were other notable positive indicators cited by the minister. Government expenditure had also gone down from 20.1 to 19.4 per cent of the gross domestic product.

In his comments, Dr Cardona said Malta’s per-capita income was rapidly reaching the EU average. “At this rate it will reach this target 15 years before the time,” he said.

Asked if Malta would be penalised for its rapid progress in terms of EU funds, he insisted that the sum agreed for the seven-year period between 2014 and 2020 would remain the same.

Nevertheless, he insisted that with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, Malta had already become a net contributor.



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