Sociologist, Local Councillor, Politician from Malta
MEP Candidate - Partit Nazzjonalista (EPP).

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Liquid Modern Malta - Michael Briguglio


Times of Malta, 17 December 2018

In a recent speech on Malta’s current economic situation, Central Bank governor Mario Vella referred to ‘liquid modernity’, the sociological concept attributed to Zygmunt Bauman.
This concept refers to freedom and precariousness in contemporary society, where individuals face uncertainty and ambivalence in fluid contexts. Here, people are modern nomads who flow through changing sites, situations and identities, having no choice but to make choices.
Vella quoted Bauman’s statement that: “The growing conviction that change is the only permanence, and uncertainty the only certainty. A hundred years ago ‘to be modern’ meant to chase ‘the final state of perfection’ – now it means an infinity of improvement, with no ‘final state’ in sight and none desired.”
In this regard, the Central Bank governor warned that unless there are more females in employment, Malta risks increased reliance on automated workers and artificial intelligence. He also referred to impacts concerning Malta’s growing population amid an influx of foreign workers. These include a myriad of realities such as unaffordable housing for many people.
Vella also argued that the current situation cannot be amended by going to some form of unrealistic nostalgia. Instead, we should be aware and able to navigate in the complex realities of our time.
Here, Vella reminded me of two other influential sociologists: Anthony Giddens and Ulrich Beck, both of whom emphasise the risks and opportunities of our times.
I subscribe to the point of view that there is no such thing as a risk-free society and there is no such thing as a be-all-end-all solution for the challenges we face. There are things we can do, however.
We can strive to have economic and social policies that equip us to cope well with the ambiguities of a liquid modern society, but which also retain a central place for mechanisms that protect people from falling into poverty.
Our insecurities and anxieties can be pooled through policy systems and mechanisms provided by both public and private sectors. Pensions is a case in point. Indeed, I believe that currently Malta is giving too little importance to the sustainability of the pensions of tomorrow and at the same time is failing to ensure adequate pensions today.
Policy institutions should be more proactive and flexible, reinventing themselves within a changing society, rather than being ossified in bureaucratic hurdles, ideological rigidity and tribal mentalities that add risks to persons experiencing precariousness.
The latter require various forms of policymaking, and these are not always a question of economic incentives and financial assistance, important as they are. Policies may also include emotional, moral and communitarian initiatives that enable persons to construct their personal biographies, build social networks and integrate within society.
In the field of social policy, there are areas where Malta is coping well in this regard. Welfare-to-work policies, childcare and in-work benefits enable people to empower themselves through employment. But at the same time, there are many people who are increasingly facing social exclusion for one reason or another.
Some simply cannot cope with cost of living increases, and thus can be categorised to be within the working poor. Others do not own their housing and are facing a brave new world of unaffordable rent or loans.
Others experience ‘invisible’ social problems such as mental health, loneliness, lack of social integration, breakdown of social links and lack of online connectivity. And others may be employed in low-quality jobs.
Such situations can be identified through research methods that go beyond and add value to quantitative statistics. Social impact assessments and qualitative research methods can help provide valuable evidence to policymakers on risks and opportunities being faced today.  And a range of short-term and long-term policies can help tackle them.
Amid the liquid context we are experiencing, I believe that Malta requires a policy set-up that comprises political, policy, scholarly, civil society and other representatives that can engage in constructive dialogue and proposals.
Malta owes this to itself and especially to the groups of people who engage in their liquid lives in silence, but whose realities are as real as those of more vociferous groups.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Int qed tħoss it-tkabbir fil-prodott gross domestiku? – Michael Briguglio


Probabbli taf li l-prodott gross domestiku ta' Malta żdied b'7.5 fil-mija f'termini reali tul it-tielet kwart tal-2018. Jista' jkun li qrajt din l-aħbar fil-gazzetti jew smajtha fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir. Jekk int parti mill-grupp dejjem jikber ta' nies li jisimgħu l-aħbarijiet mill-mezzi soċjali, jista' jkun li ltqajt ma' propaganda mill-gvern li fakkritek li dan huwa l-aqwa żmien.

L-istatistika hi korretta. Tirrappreżenta t-tkabbir tal-prodott gross domestiku f'termini reali skont iċ-ċifri tal-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Istatistika. Din hi ċifra aġġustata għall-inflazzjoni li tikkwantifika l-valur tal-oġġetti u s-servizzi kollha prodotti fl-ekonomija matul is-sena.

Din iċ-ċifra kienet primarjament ir-riżultat ta' żieda fid-domanda kemm domestika kif ukoll esterna permezz tan-nefqa fuq il-konsum, in-nefqa tad-djar, in-nefqa tal-gvern, l-esportazzjonijiet u għamliet oħrajn ta' nfiq.

Tabilħaqq, il-prodott gross domestiku bil-prezzijiet attwali żdied b'€281 miljun, li jitqassmu hekk: żieda ta' €64.5 miljun fil-ħlas lill-ħaddiema, żieda ta' €162.9 miljun fil-bilanċ pożittiv gross tal-operat tal-intrapriżi u żieda ta' €53.5 miljun fit-tassazzjoni netta fuq il-produzzjoni u l-importazzjonijiet.

Matul l-istess żmien, il-valur miżjud gross ta' Malta żdied b'€218.4 miljun meta mqabbel mal-istess tliet xhur is-sena li għaddiet. Dan jirrappreżenta d-differenza bejn il-produzzjoni bi prezzijiet bażiċi u l-konsum intermedju bil-valur tal-prezzijiet tax-xerrejja.

Jekk inħarsu lejn dawn iċ-ċifri u l-pożizzjoni rispettiva ta' Malta fil-quċċata tal-klassifika tal-UE, jidher li l-ekonomija ta' Malta qed tmur dejjem għall-aħjar. Imma dawn iċ-ċifri waħedhom ma jistgħux jispjegaw il-qagħda soċjoekonomika ta' Malta.

Hawn taħt nagħti eżempju li jista' jgħin fl-ispjegazzjoni ta' dan.

Ħarsa ta' malajr lejn il-pajjiżi madwar id-dinja li bħalissa qiegħdin jesperjenzaw rati għoljin ta' tkabbir fil-prodott gross domestiku tagħhom turina li, fil-biċċa l-kbira tagħhom, dawn huma pajjiżi li qed jiżviluppaw u mhux dawk l-aktar żviluppati. It-tkabbir ekonomiku tagħhom irid jitqies flimkien ma' indikaturi oħrajn biex ikollna stampa valida tal-kwalità tal-ħajja tan-nies.

B'rabta ma' Malta, naħseb li wasal iż-żmien li l-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Istatistika jintroduċi indikaturi addizzjonali li jkejlu l-kwalità ta' ħajja u l-livell ta' għajxien ta' gruppi soċjali differenti.

Għandu jkun f'pożizzjoni li jgħarraf lill-pubbliku kif il-prezzijiet jolqtu gruppi soċjali differenti. Il-prezzijiet tal-ikel ġeneralment ikollhom effett ikbar fuq dawk bi dħul baxx, għax dawn jonfqu parti akbar mid-dħul tagħhom biex jixtru prodotti bażiċi, meta mqabbla ma' dawk bi dħul ogħla. L-istess jista' jingħad għal prodotti u servizzi bażiċi oħrajn bħall-kera, il-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma u l-prodotti mediċinali.

Meta jiġu ppubblikati ċ-ċifri uffiċjali dwar l-għoli tal-ħajja, ma ssirx distinzjoni bejn livelli differenti ta' dħul, iżda fid-dinja reali hu ċar li l-kumpens għall-għoli tal-ħajja li ngħata lill-ħaddiema u lill-pensjonanti mhuwiex realistiku.

Biex nagħti eżempju sempliċi ta’ dan: prodott bażiku tal-ikel li jiswa €1 jieħu wieħed fil-mija tad-dħul ta' xi ħadd li jaqla' €100. Iżda jieħu biss 0.1 fil-mija tad-dħul ta' xi ħadd li jaqla' €1,000. Il-prodott tal-ikel hu essenzjali għaż-żewġ persuni, iżda l-persuna li taqla' aktar qed tħallas proporzjonalment ħafna inqas mid-dħul tagħha biex tixtrih.

F'Lulju li għadda, il-President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, b'rabta ma' studju mill-Osservatorju Nazzjonali għal Għajxien b'Dinjità u ċ-Ċentru Nazzjonali għar-Riċerka dwar il-Familji, li t-tnejn huma entitajiet ta' riċerka fi ħdan il-Fondazzjoni tagħha għall-Ġid tas-Soċjetà, qalet li l-ikel jikkostitwixxi l-akbar nefqa ta' familji b'erba' persuni f'Malta u Għawdex. Żiedet li madankollu, hu allarmanti li nagħrfu li, sabiex l-ikel li jikkunsmaw ikun meqjus tajjeb għas-saħħa u nadif, familji bħal dawn ikollhom jonfqu aktar minn €500 fix-xahar. Saħqet li dan hu ammont għoli żżejjed għal bosta familji, li jfisser li individwi li jbatu minn vulnerabbiltà jew prekarjat ta' kull xorta qed isibuha kważi impossibbli li jaċċessaw ikel adegwat.

Minbarra dan, għandna nqisu wkoll l-għadd dejjem jiżdied ta' persuni li qegħdin jiġu żgumbrati mill-postijiet li jkunu qed jikru u/jew li ma jkunux jistgħu jingħataw self mill-bank jew ilaħħqu mal-kera ta' proprjetà. Dan jinkludi wkoll persuni bi dħul medju ta' etajiet differenti.

Jekk mal-ispiża ta' €500 msemmija mill-President inżidu spejjeż oħra, fosthom il-kera, il-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma u l-prodotti mediċinali, u nqabbluhom mal-pagi f'Malta, il-matematika hija ċara daqs il-kristall.

 Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 16 ta' Diċembru 2018

DB: Reply from European Commission

Reply from the European Commission to my letter dated 22nd October 2018. I am studying and evaluating this accordingly with my team. I am still awaiting a reply to my letter dated 
30th October 2018 to the State Aid Monitoring Board and Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) .

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Are you feeling the growth in GDP? Michael Briguglio

You probably know that Malta’s gross domestic product went up by 7.5 per cent in real terms during the third quarter of 2018. You might have read this in the newspapers or heard it on the news. If you are part of the growing group which gets its news from the social media, you might have encountered government propaganda reminding you about the best of times.

The statistic is correct. It represents GDP growth in real terms as per National Statistics Office figures. This is an inflation-adjusted figure that quantifies the value of all goods and services produced within the economy during the year.

This figure was mainly the result of an increase in both domestic and external demand through consumption expenditure, household expenditure, government expenditure, exports and other forms of expenditure.

Indeed, GDP at current prices went up by €281 million, which were distributed into a €64.5 million increase in compensation of employees, a €162.9 million increase in gross operating surplus of enterprises and a €53.5 million increase in net taxation on production and imports.

During the same period, Malta’s gross value added increased by €218.4 million when compared to the same quarter last year. This represents the difference between output at basic prices and intermediate consumption valued at purchasers’ prices.

Judging by these figures and Malta’s respective top position within EU classification, it looks like Malta’s economy is soaring. But this figure alone cannot explain Malta’s socio-economic situation.

An example that may help explain this is the following.

A cursory look at countries around the world currently experiencing high GDP growth rates mostly includes developing countries and not the most developed ones. Their economic growth must be seen together with other indicators to get a valid picture of people’s quality of life.

As regards Malta, I think it is high time that the National Statistics Office introduces additional indicators which look into the quality of life and standard of living of different social groups.
It should be in a position to inform the public sphere how the prices affect different social groups. Food prices tend to have a much greater weight on low income earners, as the latter spend a higher percentage of their income to buy basic products, compared with higher income earners. The same can be said on other basic products and services such as rent, utility bills and medicinal products.

When official figures on the cost of living are published, they do not distinguish between different levels of income, but in the real world it is clear that cost of living compensation given to workers and pensioners are not realistic.

To give a basic example. A basic food stuff costing €1 eats up one per cent of the income of someone who earns €100. But it eats up only 0.1 per cent of someone earning €1,000. The food stuff is essential for both persons, but the latter is paying proportionately much less of her or his income to buy it.

Last July, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said the following in relation to a study by the National Observatory for Living With Dignity and the National Centre for Family Research, both of which are research entities within her Foundation for the Well-being of Society:

“...Food constitutes the highest expenditure being made by four-person families in Malta and Gozo. However, it is alarming to recognise that, in order for the food that they consume to be considered healthy and clean, such families have to spend in excess of €500 a month. This is a prohibitively high figure for many families, which means that individuals suffering from vulnerability or precarity of any kind are finding it almost impossible to access adequate food.”

In addition to this one should also take into account the increasing number of people who are being evicted and/or who cannot afford a bank loan or to rent property. This also includes middle-income earners from different age cohorts.

Add the €500 expense mentioned by the President to other expenses including rent, utility bills and medicinal products and compare it to Malta’s wages. The math is clear.


This article appears in Times of Malta as 'Feeling the growth in GDP' - 10 December 2018.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Publication of paper on civil society perspectives on green jobs in sustainable energy: The case of European Malta

Image result for SAGE ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
My co-authored research article with Maria Brown 'Civil society perspectives on green jobs in sustainable energy: The case of European Malta ' has been published in peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environment (SAGE). 

The objective of this paper is to analyse the perspectives of civil society actors in Malta about the country’s sustainable energy policy and its impact on green jobs. Perspectives of 11 civil society actors comprising employers, trade unions and non-governmental organisations are analysed to provide a broad reflexive analysis of the policy process in question. Findings illuminate a broad consensus within civil society that the policymaking process in the field of sustainable energy should incorporate different voices from civil society – such as employers, trade unions and environmental non-governmental organisations – apart from experts in energy, economics and other areas. Indeed, this study’s findings include civil society’s reviews on how commercial viability, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainability interact with and within the sustainable energy sector and related green jobs. Nonetheless, this study signals that within Maltese civil society, sharing of knowledge and good practice and effort coordination lack. Different interests and sectarianism testify to inconsistently interacting and competing human local networks. This broadens the discourse on effective sustainable energy policy and creation of related green jobs, also making it more complex. Indeed, the direction of such discourse bears potential for sporadic development. Whilst challenging vertical trajectories, institutionally centred and technical transitions in the area of environmental sustainability, the primary data gained from this study highlight need for policy to address the identified challenges through projects, funding and incentives that foster coordination between different types of civil society organisations.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Rimedji għall-problemi fil-qasam tad-djar - Michael Briguglio



Fl-aħħar żewġ artikli tiegħi ddiskutejt diversi realtajiet, problemi, inugwaljanzi u sfidi fis-sitwazzjoni fil-qasam tad-djar f'Malta.



Huwa ċar li ż-żieda msejsa fuq politika fil-popolazzjoni ta' Malta wasslet għal żieda kemm fid-domanda għad-djar kif ukoll fil-prezzijiet. B'konsegwenza ta' dan, dawk li setgħu jlaħħqu biss mal-orħos prezzijiet tal-kera qegħdin jiġu mbuttati barra mis-suq.



Dawk l-individwi u l-familji li mhumiex sidien ta' proprjetà u li l-pagi tagħhom iżommuhom milli jixtru jew jikru għaldaqstant qed iħabbtu wiċċhom ma' għażliet xejn sbieħ.



Dawn il-persuni jeħtieġu interventi immedjati ta' politika li jiżguraw il-provvista ta' biżżejjed akkomodazzjoni soċjali u/jew postijiet mikrija bi prezz irħis bil-possibilità li jinxtraw.



Bħalissa hemm madwar 3,300 applikazzjoni għal akkomodazzjoni soċjali u madwar 600 applikazzjoni għal tibdil fl-akkomodazzjoni soċjali minħabba kundizzjonijiet inadegwati. Biż-żieda li qed naraw bħalissa fit-tkeċċijiet minn postijiet mikrija, fl-akkomodazzjoni substandard u fil-persuni li jkollhom jgħixu mal-qraba għax ma għandhomx għażla oħra, huwa essenzjali li ma jinħeliex aktar ħin sabiex jiġu pprovduti stokkijiet ġodda ta' akkomodazzjoni soċjali u sabiex jittieħdu inizjattivi oħrajn bħal sħubijiet bejn is-settur pubbliku u dak privat biex tiġi pprovduta akkomodazzjoni deċenti bi prezz irħis.



Minħabba li ż-żidiet fis-salarji u l-pensjonijiet huma ferm imbiegħda minn dak li hu meħtieġ biex in-nies ilaħħqu mal-inflazzjoni, il-gvern għandu joħloq ukoll mekkaniżmu biex jiġi żgurat li s-sussidji għal dawk bi dħul baxx ma jkunux magħrufa minn sidien il-kera biex jiġu evitati aktar pressjonijiet ta' inflazzjoni fuq il-kirjiet.



B'rabta mas-sħubijiet bejn is-settur pubbliku u dak privat, forsi wasal iż-żmien li niddiskutu jekk Malta għandhiex tippermetti forom iżgħar ta' żvilupp deċenti u sikur li jkun bi prezz li jistgħu jlaħħqu miegħu persuni bi dħul baxx u medju. L-introduzzjoni ta' akkomodazzjoni bħal din tista' żżid il-provvista u tgħin biex tittaffa l-inflazzjoni. Inkella, l-uniċi proprjetajiet li jistgħu jħallsu għalihom dawn in-nies ikunu forom ta' akkomodazzjoni substandard u sikwit mhux sanitarji.



Fl-istess waqt, u kif spjegajt fl-aħħar artiklu tiegħi, il-gvern għandu jieħu ħsieb li ma jintroduċix riformi li b'mod mhux intenzjonat iħeġġu lis-sidien tal-proprjetà jneħħu l-proprjetajiet tagħhom mis-suq. Dan għaliex b'hekk titnaqqas il-provvista u tiġi inkoraġġuta aktar żieda fil-prezzijiet sakemm ma jkunx hemm introduzzjoni korrispondenti ta' proprjetajiet ġodda fis-suq.



B'rabta ma' dan, inħeġġeġ lill-gvern jikkonsulta evidenza ekonomika, psikoloġika u soċjoloġika biex jiżgura li l-bidliet fil-politika jkunu kemm jista' tkun ekwi, effiċjenti u razzjonali.



Riforma oħra li l-gvern jista' jikkunsidra hi li jnaqqas ir-rati tat-taxxa għal sidien il-kera li jintrabtu għal kirjiet itwal. Naturalment, riforma bħal din tkun titlob ukoll inizjattivi mill-gvern kontra kiri mhux iddikjarat u illegali ta' proprjetà.



Nixtieq infakkar lill-qarrejja li skont l-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Istatistika, sidien il-kera f'Malta qalgħu €85 miljun mill-kiri fl-2017, żieda ta' 132 fil-mija fuq l-2014. Din l-istatistika tkopri kirjiet iddikjarati u tista' titqabbel ma' ċifri oħrajn, bħaż-żieda fid-dħul mix-xogħol (17 fil-mija) u ż-żieda fid-dħul mill-imgħax u d-dividendi (tlieta fil-mija).



L-istatistika turi li d-dħul mill-kiri għan-nofs tal-popolazzjoni li jaqla' inqas irdoppja mill-2012.



L-introduzzjoni ta' mudell għall-kuntratti tal-kiri wkoll jista' jinkoraġġixxi prattika tajba, speċjalment jekk ikun akkumpanjat minn kampanji edukattivi għal sidien il-kera u għall-inkwilini, biex il-partijiet interessati jkollhom għarfien aħjar tad-drittijiet u r-responsabilitajiet tagħhom.



Tabilħaqq, dan hu qasam li jeħtieġ li s-soċjeta ċivili tingħata aktar setgħa u tieħu sehem akbar fih biex tiġġieled kontra l-fallimenti tas-suq u tħeġġeġ kundizzjonijiet ġusti għal kulħadd.



Fost politiki oħrajn li jistgħu jiġu kkunsidrati hemm il-ħolqien ta' indiċi nazzjonali tal-prezzijiet li juri l-prezzijiet tal-kera fis-suq u sistemi ta' taxxa armonizzati fis-setturi differenti li jinvolvu l-proprjetà biex jiġi evitat iċ-ċaqliq tal-proprjetà minn settur għal ieħor, għalkemm din tal-aħħar titlob riċerka sfiqa u evidenza qabel tiġi introdotta.



Fl-aħħar nett, huwa importanti wkoll li jiġi aċċertat li l-inkwilini jkollhom aċċess ġust u trasparenti għall-mekkaniżmi tal-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma biex jinqered kull abbuż f'dawn it-tranżazzjonijiet.



Kif għidt fl-artikli tiegħi ta' qabel, huwa pożittiv li l-gvern qiegħed jiddiskuti r-riforma tal-liġi tal-kera, speċjalment peress li l-politika tiegħu wasslet għal inflazzjoni rapida.



Ejjew nistinkaw biex nilħqu kunsens nazzjonali f'dan is-settur, filwaqt li niftakru li kull riforma ta' politika għandha l-opportunitajiet u r-riskji, iżda li ma nistgħux inħallu l-affarijiet kif inhuma għax dan qed iwassal għall-faqar fil-qasam tad-djar.

Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 9 ta' Diċcembru 2018

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Filmat: Min qed jiddeċiedi dwar il-kontijiet tad-dawl?

F'dan il-vlog għal The Malta Independent nispjega kif ktibt lill-awtoritajiet Maltin u Ewropej dwar il-kontroversja dwar il-kontijiet tad-dawl u ilma f'Malta u nsaqsi xi mistoqsijiet f'dan ir-rigward.

Tista' tara l-filmat hawnhekk:

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-12-03/blogs-opinions/Water-and-energy-bills-6736200272

Image result for power station malta tanker

Housing Remedies - Michael Briguglio

Picture by www.pellikola.com

Times of Malta 3 December 2018

In my previous two articles I discussed various realities, quandaries, inequalities and challenges in Malta’s housing situation.

It is clearly the case that the policy-driven increase in Malta’s population resulted in an increase in both the demand for housing and prices. Consequently, those who could only afford to rent at the low-cost end are being squeezed out of the market.

Those individuals and families who do not own property or whose salary prohibits them from purchasing or renting are thus facing unpleasant choices. 

Such persons require immediate policy interventions which ensure an adequate supply of social housing and/or low-cost rentals with the possibility to purchase.

Currently there are around 3,300 applications for social housing and around 600 applications for a change in social housing due to inadequate conditions. With the current increase in evictions, sub-standard accommodation and persons living with relatives out of necessity, it is imperative that no more time is wasted for the provision of new social housing stocks and for other initiatives such as public-private partnerships to supply decent low-cost accommodation.

Given that salary and pension increases are a far cry from what is needed to cope with inflation, the government should also create a mechanism to ensure that subsidies to low-income earners are not disclosed to lessors to avoid further inflationary pressures on rents.
In relation to public-private partnerships, perhaps it is time to discuss whether Malta should allow smaller forms of decent and safe development which are affordable for low- and middle-income earners. The introduction of such accommodation could thus increase supply and help combat inflation. Otherwise, the only affordable properties for such persons would be sub-standard and often unsanitary forms of accommodation.

At the same time, and as I explained in my previous article, the government should be wary of introducing reforms that unintentionally encourage property owners to move their properties out of the market. This would reduce supply and encourage further increase in prices unless there is a corresponding introduction of new properties in the market.

In this regard, I encourage the government to consult economic, psychological and sociological evidence to ensure that policy changes are as equitable, efficient and rational as possible.

Another reform which the government can consider is to reduce tax rates to landlords who bind themselves to longer lets. Of course, this would need to be matched with government initiatives against undeclared and illegal rent of property.

May I remind readers that according to the National Statistics Office, households in Malta earned €85 million from rent in 2017, a 132 per cent increase over 2014. This statistic covers declared rents and can be compared with other figures, such as the increase in income from employment (17 per cent) and the increase in income from interest and dividends (three per cent).

Statistics show that rental income for bottom 50 per cent of earners has doubled since 2012.

The introduction of a template for rent agreements could also encourage good practices, especially if this is accompanied by educational campaigns for landlords and tenants, where rights and responsibilities would be better known by stakeholders.

Indeed, this is an area which requires more civil society participation and empowerment to combat market failures and encourage fairness for all.

Other policies which could be considered include the creation of a national price index to show rent prices within the market and harmonised tax regimes across the different sectors involving property to avoid flight from one sector to the other, although the latter requires thorough research and evidence before being introduced.

Finally, it is also important to ensure that tenants have fair and transparent access to utility bill mechanisms to do away with any abuse in such transactions.

As I said in my previous articles, it is positive that the government is discussing rent law reform, especially since its own policies have resulted in runaway inflation.

Let us strive for national consensus in this sector, keeping in mind that any policy reform has opportunities and risks, but that the status quo is no option as it is resulting in housing poverty.