LATEST ARTICLES

Communications on beneficial owners: increasingly severe sanctions for offenders

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For almost three years, Maltese law has obliged companies to keep and transmit adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on their beneficial owners. Since its entry into force, this duty has become so established and entrenched that company owners (direct or indirect, foreign or local) or their officials who do not comply with these measures risk incurring heavy penalties, aggravated by factors such as intentionality and premeditated deception. In the most serious cases, the penalty may even be imprisonment.

Unless all shareholders of a company are natural persons acting in their own name and appearing on the Malta Companies Register (MBR) lists, or the Maltese company itself is listed on a regulated market as described in the law, compliance with the Beneficiaries Act is a must.

But let’s see what the latest news in this regard. Since June 2020, companies are also required to pay an annual fee to contribute to the collection of data and supervisory operations by the public body.

The maximum penalties provided for by law for non-compliance, moreover, after having been contained in an initial phase, have gradually increased, now reaching completely relevant thresholds. The maximum daily penalty for each day of delay, until the non-compliance is remedied, has risen from 10 to 100 euros. While an unintentional delay in filing a form for a fortnight could cost the company up to 6,300 euros.

There is also the sanction that could be imposed by the Malta Registrar of Companies if it finds a discrepancy between the records on beneficiaries transmitted by a company and those kept internally by the company itself. In this case the factor of voluntariness emerges, and the maximum threshold set for this sanction has increased from 10,000 to 100,000 euros.

Companies that existed before the entry into force of these rules (before 2018), which did not comply with the new rules when the initial moratorium expired, and which are still in default, are subject to a daily penalty of up to €500, plus a maximum of €10,000.

Finally, the maximum lump sum penalty for late filing and failure to keep documents has increased from 1,000 to 5,000 euros.

It is hoped that these penalties will discourage those who want to deceive or mislead the public administration on this front. And that they can enhance Malta’s image of legality in the eyes of the world after difficult years.

But there is also the problem of excessive sanctions compared to what could be mere oversight. For this reason it is advisable not to take these obligations under advisement and, in case of doubts or difficulties, to rely on the advice of a professional. The Malta Business Agency staff is also at your complete disposal on this matter.

The 2021 Renewable Energy System Scheme

As promised on the occasion of the presentation of the 2021 Budget, the Maltese Government has launched the Renewable Energy System (RES) Scheme, which is administered by the Regulator for Energy and Water Services to further encourage the better use of the renewable energy being generated by the country.

This scheme is funded through national funds and applies to private individuals (natural persons) for use on their residential properties, and for organisations that are not carrying out an economic activity, provided that photovoltaic installation should have no active feed-in tariff allocation. If the photovoltaic installation was allocated a feed-in tariff, the guaranteed period should be expired.

This scheme was launched by means of Government Notice 298 of 2021.

The 2021 RES scheme is slightly different form past PV schemes as it will be incorporating different technologies under one scheme. Basically, the scheme will be split into the following options:

Option A – PV system with standard solar inverter.
Option B – PV system with hybrid inverter.
Option C – Hybrid/battery inverter and battery.
Option D – Battery storage only.

Applicants can only apply for one option with the exception of Option B whereby an applicant may also apply for Option D.

For option C only (Inverter plus battery), the inverter must be rated for the size of total kWp of the existing photovoltaic modules. As such systems where the ratio of inverter nominal ac power at standard testing conditions (STC) is lower than 0.8 times the array nominal power shall not be eligible for the grant.

For options A and B, the minimum system size is 1kWp and for Options C and D the minimum storage size is 2kWh.

In addition to the above, a standard minimum of 10 years warranty will be requested on all options.

As you may be aware, prior to submission of applications, all equipment has to be registered with REWS. In this regard, please note that Government Notice 52 of 2010 was amended to cater for the registration of Energy Storage Systems and now REWS is accepting applications for registration of equipment that meets the following standards:

– Lead Acid Batteries shall be certified to EN 61056-1-2, BS EN 60896-11, 21 and 22 as applicable or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

– The lithium-ion shall be certified to IEC 62619 as applicable or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

– Flow batteries shall be certified to BS EN 62932-1-2 as applicable, or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

Applications for registration of technology can be accepted prior to the launch of the scheme. To access the funds ask the Malta Business Agency team for support by filling in the following contact form.

GO’s national connectivity project enters final phase

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With the start of winter comes the start of the final phase of the PEACE project, an investment by GO of €25 million in a 3rd submarine cable which will directly connect Malta to France, Egypt, and beyond.

The project, announced last July, forms part of the global PEACE System (Pakistan East Africa Connecting Europe) project – a multi-million-euro connectivity effort which consists of a 15,000Km submarine cable emulating the old oriental silk route, connecting countries across the globe on its way from Asia to France.

The 55km ‘LaValette’ branch to Malta started being laid down this morning in Golden Bay and will connect Malta to the 3214Km Mediterranean stretch between Marseille and Egypt.

This project makes GO the first Maltese operator to have additional redundancy on international connectivity other than to Italy. In fact, this is the first repeatered cable to be laid to the Maltese islands which will provide up to 16Tbps (Tera Bits per Second) and provide a lower round trip delay over what can be offered today to Marseille.

On the 4th of August of this year, laying started in the Abu Talat (Egypt) area towards the Branching Unit of Cyprus. This operation was completed on the 23rd of August. From the 25th of August till the 31st the segment to Cyprus was laid with post lay operations taking till the 13th of September. The segment towards the Malta branch unit was then laid with the full operation being completed on the 17th of October.

The Cable laying vessel then performed the cable lay towards the final splice, which basically joined the segment from Egypt to Malta to the segment towards France, with the final splice laid on the seabed on the 17th of November.

The cable lay in Golden bay is the final phase of the operation. Once the cable reaches land, it will be connected to the land equipment and tested to verify connectivity. The Cable will also be protected on shore and in the sea and will also be secured to the seabed to avoid damage.

End to end testing is estimated to happen in January or early February 2022 with full connectivity estimated to kick start in March 2022.

Use of cheques and banking transactions in Malta: the new directive

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The Directive No 19 on the use of cheques and bank drafts in terms of the CENTRAL BANK OF MALTA ACT (Cap. 204) came into force on the 1st of January 2022.

This directive seeks to ensure the safe and effective use of cheques and bank drafts, referred to as ‘paper-based instruments’, to reduce the legal and operational risks associated with these payment instruments.

The below is a summary of the main Rules of the Directive:

  • Cheques will only be encashed or credited to the person named by the payer
  • Cheques cannot be dated to a future date, and may be accepted in any case if presented before that future date
  • Cheques over €5,000 can only be deposited into the beneficiary’s own account
  • Cheques cannot be issued for amounts of €20 or less
  • Cheque facilities will be withdrawn if cheques are repeatedly issued that cannot be honoured.
  • Service providers will ensure that all information related to cheques is retained for at least five years
  • Users who breach the regulations are subject to fines up to €200 for each contravention.

The below is a summary of the main Regulations of the Directive:

  • The restrictions imposed by the regulations apply to anyone even if for an unregestered private seller
  • The Regulations prohibit any person from making or receiving payment or otherwise carrying out transactions in cash amounting to or exceeding 10.000 euros or its equivalent in any other currency, whether in one transaction or in several linked transactions, in respect of the purchase or sale of antiques, immovable property, jewellery and precious stones, motor-vehicles, sea-craft and works of art
  • A branch of the above-mentioned cash transaction limit constitutes an offence which renders the offender liable, upon conviction by the Court of Magistrates in its criminal jurisdictions, to a fine (multa) or criminal proceedings depending on the case
  • Failure by traders and notaries to abide by the procedures and requirements issued by the FIAU will result in an administrative penalty of not more than 5.000 euros.

MACTT Ngo presents the MAST Project to the Maltese audience

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Ngo MACTT (Mediterranean Academy of Culture Technology and Trade) is pleased to announce “MAST – Restarting with sustainable tourism“, a live event to present the MAST project to the Maltese audience.

The appointment is Wednesday, January 19 at 3:30 pm, live on the following MACTT channels:

The event is aimed at entrepreneurs, professionals, young people and students living in Malta and related to the world of tourism. They will be presented with the opportunity to keep up to date on new forms of sustainable tourism in the post-Covid era through a free video course, and to submit, by January 25, 2022, a project or a business idea related to the tourism of the future.

Presenting MAST will be Caterina Passariello, the project’s main contact person for Malta, on behalf of MACTT Ngo.

MAST, officially launched last November 2021, is a project funded by UfM for Employment Promotion and managed by the following five partners:

– MACTT Ngo (Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade) for Malta
– UPO (Università del Piemonte Orientale) for Italy
– EILD Ngo (European Institute for Local Development) for Greece
– UMNAGRI (Union Maghrébine et de l’Afrique du Nord des Agriculteurs) for Tunisia
– AORADRCS for Morocco

AI4Copernicus launches the fourth open call

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AI4Copernicus has launched its fourth Open Call for use cases across Artificial Intelligence and Earth observation data.

The term “Earth observation” refers to the collection of information about our planet’s physical, chemical, and biological systems. Satellites, in particular, provide valuable information on what is happening on the Earth’s surface, allowing to study evolving processes or assess changes in a particular area.

The data from satellites allow to study, with an overview, the area affected by a natural event such as a flood or a fire and assess the impact and extent, and to improve the predictive ability of mathematical models for many natural phenomena.

The goal of the call is to develop and test technical solutions that address the societal challenges selected by citizens during the second Open Call using AI resources and Earth observation data.

The call is aimed at consortia of high-tech companies and at least one low-tech SME. Startups and spin-offs will also be eligible to participate.

Three use cases will be selected and will benefit from €150,00 each, as well as a 16-month acceleration program.

The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2022.

To submit your application and apply for funding rely on the strategic and operational support of the Malta Business Agency team. Request more information or a consultation by filling out the form below.

Israeli start-up specialists launch VentureRocket Malta

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VentureRocket Malta, an Israeli start-up ecosystem builder, focused on start-up scouting, financing and acceleration is set to be launched in Malta in the coming months.

The initiative will scout innovative start-ups and companies both locally and globally, plan their introduction to the Maltese ecosystem, aid them with Malta government grants and support plans, and together with Malta Enterprise, build a specific case by case growth plan for them.

VentureRocket is a part of Titanium Technologies Group that acts as a holistic start-up ecosystem management environment collaborating with governments, educational institutions, and innovative organisations.

The company’s new management team covers over 20 years of experience in leading and managing complex tech projects worldwide, with a strong team of tech and business specialists from Israel, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

VentureRocket offers different acceleration services, including a digital environment and tools to manage the ecosystem of startups and investors and help startups execute their fundraising campaigns, global startup scouting and investor outreach activities, customised acceleration and incubation programs, and other dedicated services, according to the partners’ needs.

At VentureRocket, we see great potential in entering the Maltese market. Currently, it includes over 250 tech startups from different industries, and due to Malta’s great strategic location, strong human capital opportunities, and a friendly lifestyle, it creates favourable conditions for startup scouting and finding great investment opportunities in the region,” – shared Asaf Yosifov, the CEO at VentureRocket.

The investment is being supported by the country’s key contact point for startups – Malta Enterprise – with an aim of further synergising the local start-up ecosystem.

Over the last months Malta Enterprise has launched a number of incentives for start-ups and an enablement and visibility campaign built around the portal StartinMalta.com.

We are excited to partner with VentureRocket to bring more opportunities to Malta-based startups and help them realise their full potential by supporting them with ecosystem building services from VentureRocket. We are also confident that Venture Rocket Malta can be a great way for global start-ups to get access and grow in the Maltese and the European Union markets,” – said Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia.

This announcement is another milestone in the momentum we have been building over the last months via agreements with local and international partners. These efforts are reaping results with 73 applications for start-up assistance received between January and June this year compared to 46 applications in the same period last year. “Also we are seeing that a good chunk of our incoming FDI’s are exciting startups coming from a myriad of fields – from aviation to cybersecurity, from fintech to digital games. Malta as a startup hub is a works in progress”, he concluded.

Over 70 meetings held during TradeMalta business delegation to Expo Dubai

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The business delegation to Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE held between the 12th and 17th December during the Knowledge and Learning Week, was hailed as a success by participants and organisers. Over 70 Meetings scheduled by the TradeMalta office in Dubai were held in Dubai City Center and also in other inter cities.

The delegation, which included public and private institutions from the education and training sector, visited the Malta Pavillion and participated in numerous networking sessions held at Expo 2020 Serbia, SlovakiaExpo2020, and Portugal Expo 2020, with the participation of businesses from the respective countries, as well as from Colombia Expo Dubai 2020 and the Brazil Pavilion.

The delegation also took part in an Education and Business Forum hosted by SlovakiaExpo2020, with the participation of other education institutions and stakeholders from Mexico Expo 2020, Slovenia at Expo, Morocco Expo 2020 Dubai, and the UAE Pavilion.

Furthermore, the delegation participated in other sessions and networking events organised by Expo 2020 Russia, and Expo 2020 Argentina.

TradeMalta’s next Business Mission to the UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai will take place from the 13th to the 18th February 2022. For more information please contact the team of Malta Business Agency.

VAIOT is the first digital asset regulated by the MFSA

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One of the first of the few countries in the EU to introduce an organized regulatory framework was Malta, which in 2018 set out to regulate Virtual Financial Assets and Initial Virtual Financial Assets Offerings (IVFAO) as methods of raising funds. Now, for the first time, successful registration of a project’s whitepaper under the VFA Act has occurred, marking a milestone for cryptocurrency regulation

The registration of VAIOT’s whitepaper was supported by Grant Thornton Malta, a member of one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax, and advisory services, which acts as VAIOT’s VFA agent. The VFA Agent verifies, monitors, and provides guidance throughout the whitepaper registration process as well as beyond the offering stage, ensuring its regulatory compliance and acting as a liaison between VAIOT and the MFSA. 

The VFAA regulatory framework requires VAIOT to maintain an external and independent VFA Agent at all times. The process of completing the registration includes extensive due diligence both by the VFA Agent and the MFSA. Throughout the process, VAIOT was tasked with proving it has proper procedures in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as going through a security audit and smart-contract audit by an authorized Systems Auditor approved by Maltese authorities.

“We are thrilled to successfully register our whitepaper with the MFSA,” says Christoph Surgowt, CEO of VAIOT. “The Maltese government has taken major steps towards introducing a clear regulatory framework surrounding IVFAOs. We will be able to offer our token in an ecosystem that will not only support the development and evolution of virtual financial assets and innovative solutions, such as VAIOT, but protect investors and token traders.”

“It’s always exciting to break new ground,” says Dr. Wayne Pisani, partner responsible for regulatory and compliance services at Grant Thornton. “VAIOT is pioneering one of the first IVFAOs, pushing forward a novel asset class in addition to its product. We look forward to engaging with, assisting, and advising the industry, as well as influencing the debate over how these virtual assistants and digital financial assets will evolve going forward.”

Malta Business Agency supports your business idea in the world of Financial Services and your innovative projects. To ask for advice please contact our offices by filling out the following form:

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  • Cell Companies in the maritime and aviation sectors

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    Cell companies are companies that separate their business into “protected cells” through a segregated portfolio in which the assets and liabilities of different classes are separated from the core business of the company, thus limiting litigation damages and financial impacts to a single cell and protecting the company’s core business.

    In Malta, the provisions of the Companies Act for the incorporation or conversion of so-called ‘cell companies’ were first introduced in 1998, as part of the new Insurance Business Act enacted at the time. It was only later, in 2011, with the introduction of the Companies Act (Incorporated Cell Companies Carrying on Business of Insurance), that this type of company could be used for the first time. It was mainly the insurance sector that benefited, before being extended to various types of variable capital investment companies.

    The latest step came about a year ago, on 3 March 2020, with a reform of the Companies Act that extended the cell company to the aviation and maritime sectors: not only for those who own or operate aircraft and vessels, but also their management and all related ancillary activities, including providers of security services and companies with equity interests in aviation.

    Following the advantages already available to insurance, securitisation and collective investment undertakings, aviation companies can therefore also ring-fence their assets in such a way that they are beyond the reach of creditors or other third parties who have claims on assets relating to another airframe.

    In the event of the insolvency of one cell, there will be no effect on the solvency or otherwise of the other cells or of the company itself. This is achieved because each company has the ability to create within itself one or more independent departments in order to place and protect specific assets. Operating in Malta in the aviation and maritime sectors is made easier by the fact that a system such as the cellular company system is able to protect the company from the risks involved in its business.

    For specific advice please contact the Malta Business Agency offices by filling out the form below.

    MAST project: prize and new deadline announced

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    The project MAST (Mediterranean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism) opened the year 2022 with two great news addressed to all young people, students, entrepreneurs and professionals related to the world of tourism who want to grow new ideas of sustainable tourism for the future post Covid.

    The five partners taking part in the sustainable tourism alliance have announced the prize that will be awarded to the best idea or project for sustainable tourism: it is a business plan toolkit and a technical support consultancy aimed at providing entrepreneurs with the technical tools to structure and launch their projects and ideas. An award, therefore, that looks to the future, and that will allow competitors not only to have a fair recognition, but also to be able to develop their skills to offer the world of tourism an example of a successful sustainable model.

    The second big news concerns the deadline for submitting proposals. Initially scheduled for last December 31, the deadline for proposing business projects has been extended to January 25, 2022.

    There is still time, therefore, to register for free on the MAST project website, attend a free one-hour video course (available in English, Italian, Greek and French), and learn about the criteria for developing a new business idea based on sustainable development by getting in touch with one of the following five partners of the MAST project:

    – UPO (University of Eastern Piedmont) for Italy
    – MACTT Ngo (Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade) for Malta
    – EILD Ngo (European Institute for Local Development) for Greece
    – UMNAGRI (Union Maghrébine et de l’Afrique du Nord des Agriculteurs) for Tunisia
    – AORADRCS for Morocco

    MAST, officially launched last November 2021, is a project funded by UfM for Employment Promotion.

    Digital credentials: EU and Canada dialogue to adopt common standards

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    As the number of human interactions taking place in the digital world continues to grow, so does the need for efficient and secure digital services. That’s why Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has announced a new partnership between the Government of Canada and the European Commission to explore the common use of digital credentials.

    But what precisely are these digital credentials? As the name suggests, these represent the digital version of ordinary physical credentials, such as passports, licenses, diplomas, education certificates or tickets. They can appear as a badge in an email signature, an ID card in a digital wallet, or a certificate on a company’s website.

    Digital credentials are generally used for the same purposes as their physical counterparts, including confirming a person’s identity or qualifications. In order to perform this authentication function reliably and efficiently, digital credentials often have confirmation information constructed in such a way that it is difficult to falsify. For example, a digital driver’s license may have meta-data or a digital watermark that includes the person’s name, date of birth, or photograph. The digital credential may also provide a method to automatically confirm the online credential with its source, such as through a verifiable data log.

    The standards envisioned for the use of these digital credentials are intended to improve the privacy and effectiveness of communications globally, allowing governments and businesses and their customers to navigate securely.

    From this perspective, Canada and the European Commission jointly explored the use of digital credentials through a series of workshops that examined current technology and policy landscapes, common areas, and gaps that need to be addressed to foster mutual support for the use of digital credentials.

    The result was a final report that highlighted several gaps and as many key challenges, starting with the need to identify consistent standards.

    The report found that a variety of digital credentials already exist in different economic sectors and jurisdictions: which has led to the development of several isolated standards. But these stand-alone, non-interconnected systems could cause new challenges for mutual recognition and system scalability. To address this critical issue, the report recommended that both jurisdictions, Canadian and European, adhere to internationally recognized best practices and conform to existing online interface design principles.

    The report also identified a lack of standards for digital wallets, which, like physical wallets, allow individuals to store and maintain digital credentials.

    To address these gaps and further advance the development of common standards across Canada and the European Union, the report provides a number of recommendations, including:

    • host credential showcases to build adoption, awareness, support, and ongoing engagement through formal and informal channels;
    • implement cross-border certification of academic degrees to increase interoperability between Canada and the European Union;
    • establish mutual recognition of credentials through formal agreements between Canada and the European Union.

    Now is a good time for companies that have not made use of digital credentials to consider how using such systems could improve the privacy, efficiency and security of their online interactions. Companies that are looking to start using digital credentials should consider industry best practices, as these will likely inform any future policies and standards.

    Conversely, companies already using digital credentials should consider whether their practices are trustworthy and include sufficient privacy protections.

    Overall, the report should be well-received by international companies using digital credentials in both the European Union and Canada, as unified digital credential standards can help create greater business efficiencies and collaboration opportunities.

    Here are 20 successful startups from Malta

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    As reported on several occasions, Malta is an increasingly sought-after landing base for many tech entrepreneurs, who over the past five years have helped to create a true startup hub in the islands. And while it is true that the Maltese startup ecosystem has so far been known mainly for its development and innovations in the gaming and blockchain sectors, there are other sectors in which companies are continuing to grow, even after the start of the pandemic. Let’s see below some of the most interesting startups in the Maltese landscape:

    • BCA Solutions: Founded in 2017, it is a legal consulting startup that offers services such as licensing, token legal opinions, regulatory consulting, blockchain implementation and cybersecurity
    • Cashcow: Founded in 2017, it focuses on generating valuable leads for a variety of partners and affiliates. Led by three Finns, Cashcow’s flagship product is ‘Casino Professor’, a site that compares online casinos to ensure the user makes an informed choice
    • CIVIQUO: Founded in 2018, it is one of the first investment migration platforms in the world. It helps people find their next destination of residence or citizenship by combining a wide selection of alternative solutions
    • Costa Media: Launched in 2019 by Portuguese founders, it is a fast-growing iGaming business support company with websites in Europe and Latin America. It offers a variety of digital marketing and lead generation services through content marketing, pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization
    • Covery: Founded in 2016, it is a global risk management platform that helps online businesses prevent fraud, mitigate risk and grow revenue
    • EBO.ai: Founded in 2017, it provides artificial intelligence-based virtual agents to help companies build valuable and lasting relationships with their customers by automating processes but maintaining a level of “humanity” in customer interactions
    • Efforce: Created in 2018, the startup aims to make tokens as the preferred system for monetizing and utilizing energy savings worldwide, allowing taxpayers to participate in energy efficiency projects by capturing future savings in a “tokenized” version
    • Elrond Network: Founded in 2017, it has raised approximately 1.8 million to date. Provides a secure and efficient public blockchain network available to developers to create decentralized applications and execute “smart” contracts, lowering execution time and costs
    • Few: Founded in 2020, provides immersive sessions and experiences for physical and mental fitness. It has already raised €250k in funding from Malta Enterprise and other investors
    • Fracture Labs: Founded in 2018, developed a multiplayer survival role-playing game, called ‘Decimated’, getting 375,000 euros of funding in 2020 alone
    • FreeHour: Founded in 2017, it provides a mobile app platform for students to help each other by exchanging free lessons. It currently has 25 thousand users, establishing itself as a reference tool for Maltese and Gozitan students
    • Fyorin: Founded in 2019 with a mission to change the face of business banking through a smoother corporate banking ecosystem for SMEs and financial institutions
    • KTO Group: Founded in 2018, it is an online gaming startup specializing in agile software solutions designed to ensure above all the safety of players, who can have full control over their experience thanks to preset limits on money to deposit, game times and losses
    • Pixel.Bet: Founded in 2018, it aims to create a transparent, convenient and tailored gaming experience for all those who love esports
    • Rootz: Founded in 2018 by a team of iGaming professionals and experts, it develops platforms for online gaming by paying attention to innovative and efficient programming, streamlined yet powerful graphics and rich content
    • Solfy: As of 2018, this fintech startup has raised €1.2 million to help banks grow credit availability with less risk, increasing the number of customers and the volume of retail transactions. All thanks to a new international ecosystem of banks, merchants and customers, in which consumers receive loans from lenders to make purchases through a mobile app
    • STASIS: Since 2017, it has developed EURS, a cryptocurrency designed to be a “tokenized” version of the euro, which aims to bridge the gap between decentralized finance and the off-chain market
    • Tryvium: Created in 2018, it provides a modern platform for booking hotels, apartments, B&Bs and other accommodations, incorporating blockchain and smart contract systems, and allowing users to purchase tokens to make transactions and reservations
    • VAIOT: As of 2018, it has raised 4.5 million to provide tech companies with a digital contracts and legal service using primarily artificial intelligence, which is combined with the blockchain
    • Xcoins: Founded in 2016, it is a cryptocurrency exchange platform with more than 250,000 customers under its belt from more than 167 countries around the world.

    To develop your startup project rely on the strategic and operational support of the Malta Business Agency team. Ask for more information or a specific consultancy by filling in the following form.

    Malta and Estonia agree on common challenges

    Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia Eva Maria Liimets held talks on security in Europe and the Mediterranean at meetings in Tallinn, Estonia. The two ministers spoke about the common challenges facing the two countries, while discussing the political and geographical situation of the two countries and the surrounding Baltic and Mediterranean waters. Both Ministers agreed that great powers should not impose themselves on small countries and that their peoples should have the right to freely choose their own lives. Ministers Bartolo and Liimets agreed that the two countries have a lot to offer in the field of tourism, sports tourism, education, health, gastronomy, digital information, culture and sport. Minister Bartolo was accompanied by the Maltese Ambassador to Estonia Kenneth Vella.
    On the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malta and Estonia, Minister Bartolo inaugurated the new offices of the Maltese consulate in Tallinn. The Maltese Consulate in Estonia facilitates contact between the two countries. Reference was made to Thursday’s direct flights set up between the two countries recently by Malta Air which is facilitating this collaboration and travel between the countries. The ceremony was attended by Aku Sorainen, the Maltese Consul in Tallinn,  Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Liimets and Maltese Ambassador Kenneth Vella.
    Minister Bartolo  met with Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, Riigikogu, Tallinn who discussed the role of the committee, the work done between the committee members and the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the political situation in Europe and the international situation, the work of both countries to make progress in Africa and the lives of the African people.
    Minister Bartolo met with the Minister of Education Liina Kersna in the city of Tartu. Both Ministers discussed the development of education and the education system in both countries, about sharing ideas between educators and ways  to increase collaboration in the coming years. Both countries are already collaborating in this field including the introduction of the Estonian 99math resource in our country.
    Minister Bartolo also met with Professor Toomas Asser, Rector of the University of Tartu. Minister Bartolo stated that as a country, Malta should start looking more closely at Estonia’s model and success in this area in recent years. In Malta there should be more promotion of how Estonia can also be a center of study at tertiary level in certain subjects for our students, especially at Masters and Doctorate level.
    Professor Asser spoke about the history, reputation, organization of the University which is among the top 100 in the world and the best in the country. Professor Asser confirmed that following meetings held in recent months, the University will be offering a number of accredited online courses for free for the first time to Maltese students and said new cooperation will be sought between the Faculty of Education of this University and that within the University of Malta.
    Minister Bartolo met with Urmas Klaas, Mayor of Tartu, where they discussed the administration of local governments in Estonia and Malta. It was agreed that Tartu, the second largest city in the country and a University city, has a lot to offer and more efforts can promote it in Malta. The possibility of twinning with a Maltese town or village was also brought up during the meeting.
    Minister Bartolo also visited Estonia, the world-renowned Estonian Digital Agency, the National Museum of History and Kumu Museum of Art.

    “Embassy in Doha is a milestone in Malta-Qatar relations”

    Malta’s ambassador in Doha, Charles Sultana, said that his country has strong and long-term friendly relations with Qatar, which culminated in the opening of the Malta embassy this year.

    He expressed his confidence that these relations will strengthen over time for the benefit of the citizens of the two friendly countries, especially since there has been remarkable progress in political, economic and cultural co-operation between the two sides.
    The ambassador said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the opening of Malta’s embassy in Doha represents a milestone in the strong historical partnership between the two countries.
    The flourishing relations between the two countries, are manifested not only in the scope of the co-operation, but also through the deep friendship between the two countries. Adding: “I am certain that co-operation between our two countries will continue especially at a multilateral level, for example through the European Union, the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and the League of Arab States.”
    The ambassador said: “On the occasion of the National Day of Qatar, I convey sincere greetings to His Highness the Amir, and to the Government and the People of Qatar.
    He pointed out: “As the world begins its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, Qatar’s economy is clearly on the path of recovery after facing the challenging situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. The economic outlook for the local economy for the current year is significantly positive, according to Qatar Central Bank (QCB).


    The 10th NextGen Payments & RegTech Forum: an inspirational gathering of leading Payments & RegTech experts

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    We are proud to announce that the 10th NextGen Payments & Regtech Forum 2022 is going to be hosted on March 9th – 10th in Dublin, Ireland, with the partnership of Malta Business.

    The 10th NextGen Payments and RegTech Forum is an inspirational gathering connecting leading decision-makers from across the entire Payments and RegTech community, delivering optimum benefit through premium content and bespoke networking opportunities.

    This distinguished Forum will explore every aspect of Payments & RegTech – from upcoming regulation to new payment methods and practical case studies. Attended by senior executives from across the UK and EMEA – offering a unique opportunity to learn and network with leading international experts and like minded peers.

    High-achieving specialists will inspire the participants by their knowledge and innovative concepts on how to evolve business activities in the world of technology advances, regulations, empowered customers and continuous development in a disruptive economy.

    This B2B Forum is the perfect platform to build connections, educate and explore new business opportunities and meet the key decision-makers that are shaping this rapidly changing Payments & RegTech world.

    TESTIMONIALS from most recent edition: The 9TH PAYMENTS & REGTECH FORUM took place on the 24th & 25th November in Limassol, Cyprus:

     ‘A great event, packed with so much knowledge and great speakers, offering a unique balance between digital payments industry trends and payments regulations. In short: offering a compact source of inspiration.’ INTRASOFT International

    ‘An event that was focused, yet provided the relevant outlet for solid business networking!’ EBO

    ‘Thank you so much for such an experience. It was very interesting and informative two days.’ EXINITY

    ‘Excellent networking, well organized, great location.’ WonderInterest

    ‘Very professional and pragmatic when it comes to networking and real valuable content.’ RCB Bank Ltd

    ‘Excellent organization, interesting subjects and knowledgeable speakers.’ CreditPilot

    KEY BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPATING

    • Build Thought Leadership
    • Targeted Audience
    • Generate Leads
    • Global Reach
    • New Prospects
    • Interactive Hybrid Platform

    About QUBE Events:

    QUBE Events are created to provide an authentic platform where business leaders can build and cultivate long lasting relationships in a healthy and productive space. We believe in building credible relationships with our participants and sustaining mutual growth through our combined successes.

    For more information and the full Agenda contact the 10thNextGen Payments & RegTech Forum 2022 team at [email protected] or by visiting the event website: https://www.qubevents.com/npf-ireland

    International Digital Marketing: the new incentive scheme

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    The Maltese government has launched a scheme aimed at companies to apply for co-financing of direct expenses for international digital marketing in order to promote the company’s products or services in pre-defined markets abroad.

    The eligible support measures are:

    • Direct advertising on the main search engines (such as Google Ads or Bing Ads), as long as the expense is targeting an international market;
    • Direct advertising on the main social medial platforms (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) as long as the expense is targeting an international market;
    • Other online platforms with direct digital advertising capabilities such as Taboola, Outbrain, Capterra, Reddit, Quora and others, especially industry and audience-specific online platforms.
    • Digital design costs (visuals, graphics, etc.) of the marketing campaign.

    This incentive is open to undertakings whose purpose is to intensify their internationalisation activities with the aim of increasing their export activity.

    The beneficiary must be an undertaking registered as one of the following:
    a. An undertaking incorporated under the Companies Act Chapter 386 of the Laws of Malta being a partnership en nom collectif, en commandite or a limited liability company.
    b. Self-employed persons registered with Jobsplus.
    c. Co-operatives with the Co-operatives Board.
    d. The following table lists the indicative eligible economic sectors and activities and their respective NACE code:

    Malta Business Agency offers support to companies that are interested in promoting their brand in Italy or other foreign countries.

    Our team will support you in the presentation of the application to the national call for proposals, as well as in the drafting and development of a marketing project.

    Connie Milstein will be Ambassador to Malta

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    US President Joe Biden has nominated Constance J. Milstein, a property giant, attorney and social entrepreneur, for the post of US Ambassador to Malta.

    Milstein was served as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army in the Obama administration, and has played key roles in NGOs in international relations, global education, and democracy building, which include Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy, United Nations Association, Refugees International, and UN Watch.

    Daughter of New York real estate developer Seymour Milstein, she has an extensive resume spanning the business and philanthropic worlds. With her brother, Philip Milstein, she co-founded Ogden CAP Properties, a New York residential real estate company.

    She is a longtime donor to Democratic causes, according to the Federal Elections Commission, having made hundreds of donations to candidates and Democrat-affiliated committees in recent decades. She’s also supported the campaigns of some Republicans, including former Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tennesse) and John McCain (R-Arizona), as well as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas).

    Days after the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Milstein made a contribution of $725,000 to the Biden Victory Fund.

    Milstein resides in New York, speaks French, Italian and Spanish, has a daughter and is married to Saïd Abu-Kaud.

    Her nomination has still to be confirmed by the US Senate.

    Helping NGOs to become residents: the MPRP program

    The Maltese government has launched the MPRP permanent residency program, a scheme that simplifies criteria and procedures for granting residency with the aim of attracting more foreign investment and competing with other European residency programs.

    The program retains many of the attractive features of the previous Golden VISA (or MRVP) program, but introduces stricter controls and a greater focus on strengthening the ties between potential investors and their new country of residence.

    And in this regard, one of the most relevant elements of the new scheme concerns the obligation to make a donation of at least 2,000 euros to a non-profit association regularly registered in Malta under the name of NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). This is a measure that allows immediately, with the entry of new residents in the Maltese territory, to help realities engaged in projects of a social and cultural nature already in place or to be developed. And it offers new residents the opportunity to know the associative realities of the territory, integrating themselves into the social fabric of the archipelago.

    An example of an association to which it is possible to make this donation is the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade NGO (Register VO No.0734) which aims to develop projects aimed at enhancing the Mediterranean area as a land of international cooperation, dialogue between peoples, human rights, sustainability and innovation. The Ngo MACTT is ready to value any donations, which by law must be recorded in the budget and intended exclusively for non-profit activities, but especially to welcome new volunteers and members interested in contributing in terms of ideas and projects to be developed, giving shape and life to their spirit of initiative, and ensuring the support of an “associative brand” registered and operating in Malta for five years.

    Returning to the MPRP residency program, here are the other conditions provided compared to the previous Golden Visa.

    New applicants can still choose to buy or rent a home in Malta as a pathway to permanent residency in the country with the payment of a 68K fee for buyers and 98K for renters (including administrative fees).

    Another notable change from the pre-existing program is the removal of the annual income eligibility requirement of 100,000 euros. Instead, applicants will be required to demonstrate ownership of a minimum of €500,000 in capital, of which €150,000 should correspond to financial assets. However, this requirement only applies to the first five years of residency. Residency Malta will also divert some of the revenue generated to a new corporate social responsibility fund.

    The cost of extending residency status and privileges to relatives has also been updated. Adding parents, grandparents and spouses to a residency application will result in an additional fee of €7,500 per individual, while the fee for adult and minor children is set at €5,000.

    There was also a change in the health insurance policy, which will now have to cover only risks in Malta and not throughout the European Union, and the addition of a marketing tax.

    Finally, the timeline for reviewing an application and paying fees and contributions has been changed. Applicants can now expect a wait time of four to six months for their first review, with the initial fee to be paid within one month of submitting the application, while the administrative fee and final contribution must be paid within two and eight months of receiving the acceptance letter, respectively.

    Investment opportunities: discovering Namibia

    Malta Business follows closely the emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa, among which stands out Namibia, which represents an excellent opportunity for Maltese companies and or foreign companies based in Malta.

    With a stable multi-party and multi-racial democracy, the Republic of Namibia boasts a consolidated market economy, with an average GDP growth of about $15 billion, or 4.84 per cent in recent years. The national currency, the Namibian dollar, is pegged to the South African rand.

    The country provides a welcoming legal and policy framework for investors. Policies put in place to this end include full investment protection, no requirements for local partners and 100% repatriation of profits. In addition, the use of English as a key business language facilitates networking opportunities with the local business community.

    The capital Windhoek is recognised as one of the cleanest cities in Africa and the country is one of the first on the African continent to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution.

    Namibia also ranks third in Africa in terms of security and rule of law. Although it has a relatively small population of only 2.2 million, it is very well connected in terms of infrastructure and provides excellent access to the neighbouring markets of Angola, Botswana and South Africa. Namibia is also part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a region that is home to a population of 300 million consumers.

    Namibia’s main exports include diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium and food (including fish, beer, meat and eggs). Its main imports are machinery, machinery components and foodstuffs.

    Air Namibia flies daily to Frankfurt, but other airlines such as KLM, Eurowings, Qatar Airways, South African Airways and other international carriers also connect the African state to Europe. So do the major shipping lines, which include MAS, Maersk and Ocean Africa Containers, with regional connections through the port of Walvis Bay. No less important are the exceptional connections provided by the road and rail network, allowing easy movement of goods overland both within the state and across borders.

    To learn more about business opportunities with Africa’s emerging markets from a privileged base such as Malta, contact the Malta Business Agency offices by filling out the contact form below.

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  • Minimum wages increase for 2022

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    The Minister for Finance and Employment has recently published two new National Standard Orders (the ‘NSO’) as to regulate wage increases for 2022. The National Minimum Wage National Standard Order 2021 (L.N 462 of 2021) and the Wage Increase (Employees) National Standard Order, 2021 (L.N 463 of 2021) will be effective as of the 1st of January 2022.

    The National Minimum Wage NSO 2021 increased the minimum wage applicable to employments regulated by Maltese Law. The weekly minimum wage entitlement for whole-time employees has been increased as follows:

    – from €171.46 to €173.21 for employees under 17 years of age

    – from €174.30 to €176.05 for 17-year-old employees and from €181.08 to €182.83 for any other employees aged 18 or over.

    This NSO also provides for increases applicable where wages are laid down in a Wages Council Wage Regulated Order. In such cases, wages are to be adjusted for cost of living by any increases of wages or by wage increases for cost of living laid down by any other NSO applicable in respect of 2022.

    The latter was set out in the Wage Increase (Employees) NSO 2021 which increases all wages of whole-time employees by €1.75 per week.

    Both these NSOs also establish parallel increases for part-time employees.

    The National Minimum Wage NSO 2021 states that part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rata hourly increase in accordance with the minimum wage of any Wage Regulation Order applicable to comparable whole-time employees. Where no such Wage Regulation Order exists, the hourly increase is to be calculated in line with the National Standard Minimum Wage applicable.

    Regarding the Wage Increase (Employees) NSO 2021, it establishes that the hourly rate of part-time employees must be increased by the same amount as the hourly increase of a comparable whole-time employee calculated after the €1.75 weekly increase is made.

    In absence of any comparable employees in the same workplace, the hourly increase is to be calculated in line with any applicable Wage Regulation Order or, in absence of such Wage Regulation Order, in line with the increase established within the Wage Increase (Employees) NSO 2021 itself.