Government in negotiations with private industry to buy band clubs from NDSF funds

The Government will be entering into negotiations with private industry to acquire buildings which are currently occupied by  band clubs.

During a press conference addressed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities, Alex Muscat and Culture Minister Jose Herrera it was stated that the aim of this intervention is to provide a fair solution for owners of private properties while avoiding situations where band clubs have to be evicted.

Muscat said that this is a situation which has long existed, however to date there has never been a long-term solution.

He said the Government will enter into these negotiations without touching public funds or affecting the Maltese taxpayer.

He added that the NDSF will be negotiating with these private owners who currently cannot enjoy their property because it is occupied by band clubs. Technical experts who are qualified in the property market will be carrying out these negotiations.

He said the Government wants to reach a balance so that the NDSF does not fork out more money than required and for the owners not to be out of pocket. In this way both parties will be comfortable with the agreement reached.

He added that this clearly shows that the country is recognising that band clubs are a very important part of the Maltese social fabric and Maltese culture. He said that thousands of people take part in these bands, especially young people.

He said that once a compromise is found, these sites will become the property of the state and they will be rented out to the band clubs.

Mr Muscat said that in this way the state will be investing in property in the heart of the village and will give peace of mind to the clubs, while offering a fair price to the owners.

He said that the NDSF will be investing in private homes which are investment which make sense and so that this anomaly will be solved, and owners can start receiving rents at today’s market prices.

He added that with this solution everyone will be benefiting. This is not being done as a fluke, but to show that the IIP funds are being managed in a sensible way because the Government is committed to investing in communities.

On his part, Minister Herrera said that a few days after he took over the responsibility of his portfolio, independent evaluators were commissioned to carry out an analysis of the present situation. He said that the Government fully believes in these musical societies and respects their role as well as the importance of the owners in this issue.

This is another electoral promise being fulfilled by the Government and he is conscious of this delicate situation where many band clubs might lose their property, which is why this financial scheme has been launched.