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.

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  • eCommerce from Malta: a great opportunity

    Do you want to gain a better understanding of what selling online entails? Do you even know where to begin? Are you at a loss when it comes to sourcing the products and services you need for setting-up an online store? Let’s take a look at some of the key steps to follow when starting an online sales business from Malta with the support of Malta Business Agency’s team.

    Planning your business

    When planning an online business you need to be aware of the applicable legislation, such as the Electronic Commerce Act, the Consumer Rights Regulations, the Data Protection Act and the related Value Added Tax on goods and services for conducting online trade.

    Planning yout IT requirements

    Selecting the right hardware and software can be crucial for an eCommerce business! At this stage you need to carefully plan out the requirements, especially with regard to the equipment selected and security measures deployed, to ensure the smooth running and success of your business. We will take you through the IT requirements you would need to consider when planning to take your business online.

    Taking your business online

    Once you decide to take your business online, you need to secure a good domain name and create an intuitive website, amongst other things. We will help you with the selection and registration of the domain name and how to go about planning your website.

    Facilitating online payments

    One of the benefits of eCommerce is the ability of traders to sell, and for shoppers to buy products from anywhere in the world at any time. You need to bear in mind that impulse buying is a common trait amongst digital buyers and having to mail a cheque or pay in person could discourage consumers from concluding a purchase. We will explain what you can do to start accepting electronic payments on your website.

    Promoting your online business

    This is a very important aspect which needs special attention when setting up any type of business, especially an online store. You need to connect with customers and stand out from competition. Find out more with us about how you can effectively promote your online business and increase your eCommerce conversion rate.

    Delivering your products

    Delivery is a vital aspect in eCommerce, one which can significantly impact a customer’s buying decision. You need to guarantee customers an efficient service throughout the entire shopping experience. It is as important as having a well-designed website! We are able to give you some best practice tips on delivery.

    Providing exceptional customer service is critical for an online business. Customers may be wary of buying from a trader that they have never met before and therefore, need help to overcome their concerns and hesitations. Trust us to know how to meet the growing expectations of today’s customers! Contact us by filling in the following form!

    The Islands, aircraft carriers of Mediterranean tourism

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    The islands of the Mediterranean have experienced great development in recent years with the expansion of their tourism sector. Tourism integrates many positive elements, generates job opportunities, especially for young people and women, improves seasonal income, promotes the construction of infrastructures, develops technologies and services, and facilitates the cultural and social exchange that enriches the traveller and the destination. However, there is a big difference between growth and a fair and consistent distribution of income, and today we know that “getting back to normal” is not the way to build a prosperous and sustainable future.

    With COVID-19, the islands have suffered losses of billions of euros of activity, both direct and indirect. The world has gone through a painful, heavy and costly phase in its long confrontation with the virus, and the battle continues. That is why we are facing an opportunity to restart the sector and offer a new post-COVID-19 tourism model.

    Present and future challenges, for the Mediterranean in general and its islands in particular, are to become a sustainable tourist destination and impose a shared responsibility based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The tourism of the future incorporates balanced and focused development objectives, and requires a change of attitude in the entire value chain: destinations, companies and tourists.

    The Mediterranean is the number one tourist destination and accounts for 30% of world income and 12% of regional GDP, a similar percentage of registered employment. Now their islands require vital support to facilitate their transformation towards a new, more resilient, green and blue model that strengthens local economies in a balanced and sustainable way. The islands must become the aircraft carrier for this new regional tourism.

    The islands of the Mediterranean must be coordinated. They must work for their common objectives and to face their common problems: climate change, profitability, seasonality. A cooperation project of a coherent and efficient Mediterranean tourism market is necessary. Consolidate a “Mediterranean Brand” and profitable tourism aligned with the Development Goals. Without a comprehensive plan that consolidates its leadership, recovery and long-term sustainability are in jeopardy. We cannot compromise future needs by poor strategy and management today.

    The islands are special vacation destinations, they are in our culture and imaginary, nowhere more than in the Mediterranean in summer. But the impact of the current tourism model, such as marine litter on the beaches, is especially visible on the islands. We must take advantage of the situation generated by the pandemic to rethink the model.

    In past times, the tourism sector has demonstrated its ability to overcome crises and adapt to change, boost growth and create jobs, despite economic and geopolitical challenges, terrorism or natural disasters.

    The islands of the Mediterranean can emerge from the pandemic strengthened, and continue to be an engine of the economy. But governments and the private sector must work together to overcome the impact of the pandemic and this unprecedented social and economic crisis.

    It is important to value tourism in the Mediterranean islands. But it will be necessary a strategy and instruments in which all the actors involved should involve. National and regional policy makers must use new approaches to provide a robust response to help the sector recover. There are precise normative, regulatory and institutional frameworks with sufficient incentives to stimulate the development of supply and productive capacity. A common strategy that guarantees that the Mediterranean tourism sector becomes resilient, sustainable, inclusive and competitive.

    Community-driven tourism also promotes responsible consumer behaviour by fostering a deeper cultural exchange and understanding than traditional sun and beach tourism. Do not forget the importance of visitor awareness. Consumers are a powerful engine of change. Their voices and demands have the power to improve the economy and well-being.

    The pandemic can be the transforming point of the economies of the Mediterranean islands and from there, of the entire region. We know that we must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half. We are living a Fourth Industrial Revolution, with new digital tools, which are a powerful accelerator of inclusion, competitiveness and cooperation that improves sustainability. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, we know that we must evolve. While tourism has historically shown a great capacity to adapt, innovate and recover from adversity, this unprecedented situation requires new approaches, a strong response and partnership at various levels.

    Ferdinand Braudel said that “the Mediterranean is not a landscape but innumerable landscapes. It is not a sea but a series of seas”. The Mediterranean is a sea of ​​islands and therefore attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Faced with the pandemic, uncertainty economic and the continuing challenge posed by climate change, we can face the challenges of the future for the long-term sustainability of the Mediterranean islands.

    Article written by Anwar Zibaoui, General Coordinator of ASCAME

    University of Cassino and MACTT reach a new agreement for training with an international vocation

    The University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, in Italy, and the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade (MACTT), a Malta-based Institute of Higher Education, announce the signing of a new cooperation agreement.

    The two institutes have defined over the last few months all the details of a new collaboration aimed at expanding the opportunities of training and experience for their respective students, with the objective of building increasingly targeted skills for the demands of the labour market and the major areas that will be protagonists in the economies of our future.

    A major theme that will be the focus of this partnership is internationalization, a strong point for both institutions, and thanks to which the University of Cassino was ranked third in a recent ranking of the quality of small Italian universities.

    The two institutes have thus confirmed their international vocation and are now committed to making their expertise available for study courses, research doctorates and university masters degrees, and to facilitating internships, theses and research, as well as organising conferences, debates and seminars at their facilities.

    The two institutes are also ready to participate jointly in national and international calls for proposals in support of initiatives promoted jointly with the entrepreneurial or research system, with a view to obtaining funding for specific projects of common interest.

    The agreement has been welcomed with satisfaction by the Rector of the University of Cassino, Giovanni Betta: “We have laid the foundations for a fruitful collaboration, especially in a sector such as internationalization, in which we have worked hard in recent years, and for which it is necessary to build an increasingly solid network with new international partners“.

    The agreement reached with the University of Cassino is an important step in the growth of our Academy, which is increasingly focused on internationalization and innovation as key points of its project and of the training courses it offers to students from all over the world,” commented Caterina Passariello, Head of Institute at MACTT.

    Vittoria Ponzetta, Director of Studies at the Maltese Academy, is also satisfied: “The collaboration with Cassino will allow us to integrate and strengthen our internationalization projects, which focus on building training programmes that always have a European and international dimension. In concrete terms, this translates into foreign language courses, mobility programmes for students and teachers, and study or research activities to be carried out jointly with foreign partners“.

    Malta is the first EU country to join the IP Register in Blockchain

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    On 1 July the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate (IPRD) of the Maltese Commerce Department installed an IP Register in Blockchain node and transferred 60 000 records to TMview and DesignView through a blockchain network.

    Malta is the first EU Member State to join the EUIPO and go live with the IP Register in Blockchain launched by the Office this past April.

    Christian Archambeau, the EUIPO’s Executive Director, said: “Malta’s enthusiasm and commitment have been a key success factor in realising the considerable achievements of the project to date. By joining the blockchain, we further improve IP office connectivity to TMview and DesignView and we open the door to new blockchain-enabled services for our customers.”

    Matthew Pisani, Director of the Maltese Commerce Department, stated: “We are excited to be part of the IP Register in Blockchain project. By embracing blockchain, Malta and the EUIPO can realise the significant benefits promised by this powerful new technology“.

    Why blockchain?

    Blockchain technology improves speed while maintaining high quality data transfers. Data integrity and security are taken to another level opening the door to new services that improve connectivity between users and their IP rights and speed up the connection between IP offices.

    The technical and financial support provided to the Maltese office through the EUIPO’s European Cooperation Projects has been instrumental to the success of this implementation. The same cooperation framework will allow more offices in Europe to join the initiative this year.

    IP Register in Blockchain is one of the projects included in the Digital Evolution Programme, which is part of the EUIPO’s Strategic Plan 2025. This innovation programme embraces next-generation technologies including blockchain, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, to shape and improve the Office’s services to its customers.

    MFSA safeguards consumers by ensuring proper design and distribution of financial products

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    The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has issued the fifth Volume of the publication “The Nature and Art of Financial Supervision.” This publication, which is part of a series of sector-specific publications from the Authority’s Supervision Directorate, focuses on Product Oversight and Governance (POG) Requirements.

    The principle behind Product Oversight and Governance is that financial products are designed in such a way as to provide value for customers and to meet their expectations.  Investment firms, insurance undertakings and intermediaries, as well as credit and financial institutions, are required to have in place detailed policies and procedures identifying the steps they are taking during the manufacturing and/or distribution process to ensure that their products provide both utility as well as value for money to the end customers.

    The publication outlines the findings of a cross-sectoral thematic review carried out by the Authority in the financial services sectors outlined above to assess adherence to the POG requirements applicable to them while setting out the Authority’s expectations in this regard. The thematic review provides additional guidance towards consistent standards across sectors. It also strengthens the protection of clients of financial services in Malta by identifying and addressing potential retail conduct failures or mis-selling practices across sectors. Responses received from the self-assessment questionnaires of around 100 regulated entities were analysed and the ongoing practices of 23 entities were reviewed through focused onsite inspections. The Authority identified good practices as well as practices that would need to be improved to ensure that the Conduct of Business Rulebook and European Guidelines on POG are complied with. As outlined in the publication, all regulated entities are expected to come in line with the Authority’s recommendations and expectations.

    Deputy Head of Conduct Supervision at MFSA, Dr Sarah Pulis, stated that “The design of financial products manufactured by financial services providers and the manner in which such products are distributed have a significant impact on consumer outcomes. Product oversight and governance aims to take into consideration positive consumer outcomes as early as at the design stage of the product. That is why it is very important that financial service providers ensure that they have in place detailed policies and procedures with respect to product manufacture and distribution.

    MFSA Chief Officer Supervision and Chief Executive Officer ad interim, Dr Christopher P. Buttigieg added that “Good Product Oversight Governance reduces the risk of consumer detriment as financial products are manufactured with the end consumer’s needs and expectations in mind. The Authority plans to carry out further supervisory work in this area in the future as part of the Authority’s responsibility to ensure consumer protection and safeguard consumer rights.

    The document is publicly available on the MFSA website.

    Intellectual property for SMEs: the new EU funds

    The European Commission has launched Ideas Powered for Business, a grant program worth a total of €20 million created to help European small and medium-sized businesses access their Intellectual Property (IP) rights.

    The initiative is aimed at companies that want to develop IP strategies and protect IP rights at national, regional or EU level. The fund makes available for each SME a grant of up to 1,500 euros for services, provided also through consultancy, of pre-diagnosis of IP (IP scan) and/or applications for trademarks, designs or models.

    The conditions for submitting a request are the correspondence to the official definition of SMEs provided by the European Union and to be based in one of the 27 Member States.

    The distribution of resources will be managed during 2021, in the following windows: 11-31 January, 1-31 March, 1-31 May, 1-31 July, 1-30 September. Therefore, it will be necessary to apply within these time intervals, with the possibility of applying in more than one window for the refund of more services, but always remaining within the maximum threshold of 1,500 euros.

    As part of this opportunity, it is possible to take advantage of a targeted consultancy provided by Malta Business Agency, both for submitting the application and for the specific services of trademark creation, accompaniment to the procedures, conflict check and trademark registration.

    Specifically, the services provided that will be fully or partially refund are:

    > IP Pre-Diagnosis: an essential step in developing your IP strategy. The team of consultants will review the company’s business model, products and/or services, and growth plans and outline a strategy to help you decide what IP rights to apply for, how to develop your IP portfolio if it already has registered rights, and how to plan your future strategy.

    > Trademark, Design or Model Application: To register a trademark or design at national, regional (Benelux) or EU level, you can apply for a 50 % refund on the basic fees. Territorial protection depends on the company’s business strategy and growth plans which are part of the integrated service package offered by our team of consultants.

    Skills Development Scheme: new funds available

    Malta Business Agency is offering advice and support to companies that are interested in participating in a new call promoted by the Maltese Government to support the development of new skills among Maltese workers.

    Businesses and professionals can take the opportunity to obtain this funding through courses organised in collaboration with the Mediterranean Academy of Culture Technology and Trade, Institute of Higher Education accredited by theMalta for Futher & Higher Education Authority”. It is possible to choose between catalogue courses or tailor-made courses, organised ad hoc according to specific company or professional needs.

    Measure: Skill Development Scheme

    Institution: Malta Enterprise

    Reference: Through this scheme, Malta Enterprise shall support business undertakings to provide training to develop and update the skills and knowledge of their workforce.

    Purpose: The Corporation shall support training and knowledge transfer intiatives that will support employees to acquire new skills, knowhow and knowledge. 

    Application deadline: This measure shall be applicable until 31st December 2022.

    Submission procedure: Applications are to be submitted prior to the commencement of the training programme and should include details of the training, the training provider, the trainees and the expected outcome. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide details and comprehensive information in the application
    form to enable the Corporation to determine eligibility and evaluate the training programme. For more informations and support contact the Malta Business Agency team.

    Beneficiaries: Companies investing in staff training to improve their skills and increase the quality of the Maltese labour market.

    Type and extent of the contribution: This scheme has a budget of EUR 30,000,000. The aid intensity shall be established according to the size of the undertaking. The maximum support shall be of two million euro (€2,000,000) per skills development project. The aid intensity applicable shall not exceed the following percentages of the eligible costs: Small 70%, Medium 60%, Large 50%.

    Eligibility: This measure is available to duly registered undertakings (including self-employed persons) that carry out an economic activity in Malta and are engaged in one or more qualifying activities.

    Other requirements:

    The training should provide the participants with skills and knowledge that enhance their potential for personal growth and development and must specifically address the skills and knowledge requirements of the undertaking.

    This measure shall support undertakings in providing training to employees. The Corporation may support training delivered to one or more employees of the beneficiary by:
    a) other employees of the beneficiary;
    b) employees of related enterprises;
    c) external experts;
    d) Private Training Providers (holding an NCFHE license).

    Training which is mandatory under national law cannot be supported. In this regard, it is irrelevant whether the training is carried out to comply with national standards which are mandatory for the undertaking in question or for its employees to be able to engage in their role and also whether the training is carried out by the undertaking itself or an external trainer.

    For easy and secure financing, ask for support from the Malta Business Agency team by filling in the following form.

    Blockchance Europe 2021 at a glance

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    The international Blockchance Europe 2021 is Germany’s leading B2B conference and trade fair on blockchain technology and also one of the biggest in Europe. It will take place from December 2-4 in the building of Hamburg’s City Hall for the third time, with the partnership of Malta Business. Around 1,500 participants, 200 investors, 120 international speakers and 50 exhibitors are expected.

    Highlights of the conference are a startup award, a one-day Artificial Intelligence Summit, DIY-Workshop’s and a sustainable and interactive networking area with palm trees and pool as well as a unique supporting program with VIP Breakfast, Gala Dinner, Cinema Night, and the legendary After Glow Party.

    There will around 120 international and national representatives like spokesmen from United Nations, European Commission, German Federal Government and experts from Bitkom, Bafin Bitmain, BMW, Börse Stuttgart, Club of Rome, ConsenSys, Deutsche Bahn, ECB, HHLA, HPA, IBM, IOTA, Mercedes, Tesla and Volkswagen.

    The Chamber of Commerce, in the City Hall of Hamburg, is Germany’s former first stock exchange. It is located downtown in the famous Hamburg “Innenstadt” boasting first class hotels, restaurants and a mere 20 min to the Hamburg International Airport. The BLOCKCHANCE initiator and CEO Mr. Friedrich says: “BLOCKCHANCE mission is to educate about economic perspectives and social changes and chances brought to us by Blockchain, Distributed Ledger, and other Future Technologies. We create a unique networking, match-making, and education platform for c-levels, investors, entrepreneurs, politicians, IT experts, scientists, and students. A new era is upon us and we embrace this knowledge and leap forward towards a more sustainable and confident future“.

    Key topics are Blockchain technology use cases, digital assets, sustainability, governance, traceability, data security, ID management, token economy, digital banking, intelligent transport systems, robotics, AI and IoT.

    What makes the Blockchain Technology so special?

    We live in a world where the availability of and control over data in economics, politics, and private life are important factors for security and independence. Blockchain Technology can give us back control over it by allowing us to ensure the integrity, availability, and authenticity of data by the public domain. This algorithmic trust machine can lead us to a world of justice, transparency and equality. Throughout the new paradigm of cooperation and new forms of decentralized organization, we got a tool to solve the big problems of humanity. In a blockchain world, cooperation is more effective than competition. This will lead to the restructuring and uplift of our society, institutions, and economic systems. Together we can build the foundation for a new world.

    Fitch affirms Malta at A+, outlook stable

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    Fitch Ratings has affirmed Malta’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘A+’ with a Stable Outlook. Malta’s rating is supported by high per capita income levels, a large net external creditor position and a pre-pandemic track record of strong growth and sizeable debt reduction. These strengths are balanced against its large banking sector and the small and highly open nature of its economy, which makes it vulnerable to external developments. The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch’s expectation that GDP growth will recover and that debt will resume a gradual downward path following the fiscal shock caused by the pandemic. At the same time, there is continued downside risk from the path of the coronavirus and its effect on the tourism sector and public finances, as well as adverse developments in governance.

    Public finances have deteriorated significantly from a surplus of 0.4% of GDP in 2019 to a deficit of 10.2% of GDP in 2020. The government implemented a comprehensive fiscal stimulus package to safeguard employment and growth, including 5% of GDP in direct fiscal measures and an additional 1.5% in tax deferrals. The 2020 fiscal deterioration was the second largest in the EU and well above the EU average fiscal deficit of 6.9% of GDP. The fiscal deficit turned out to be marginally larger than projected by the government, largely due to the underperformance of tax revenues, which declined by 11% yoy.

    The 2021 budget maintains an accommodative policy stance. Fitch projects a fiscal deficit of 11.5% this year, slightly below the government’s fiscal target of 12%. Our growth forecast of 4.7% is more optimistic than the 3.8% forecast presented in Malta’s Stability Programme and we believe that there may be some underspending as the economy recovers in the second half of the year. The higher 2021 budget deficit is underpinned by the extension of most economic stimulus measures from March 2021 until the end of 2021. The budget also foresees higher investment spending, amounting to 5.4% of GDP in 2021, partly supported by a number of infrastructure projects in the tourism, transportation and health sector. We expect the deficit to narrow markedly to 5.4% of GDP in 2022, driven by the cyclical recovery and the phasing-out of Covid-19-related stimulus measures.

    The potential introduction of a global minimum tax and pressure on low-tax jurisdictions to raise effective tax rates may pose a downside risk to public finances and inward investment over time. Malta has established itself as an attractive low-tax destination for international companies and corporate taxes are a key source of fiscal revenue, accounting for around 17% of total tax revenues prior to the pandemic. Any potential impact will depend on the details of the agreement, which is expected to be reached during the G20 meetings this summer. The European Commission’s ongoing infringement procedure into Malta’s citizenship investment programme (replaced by the Citizenship by Direct Investment programme in 2020) and reports that conditions attached to the programme were not fulfilled represent further downside risks. The termination of the programme could reduce revenues by around EUR100 million or 0.7% of GDP.

    Fitch’s debt simulations indicate that the debt-to-GDP ratio will peak at 65.5% of GDP in 2022 and gradually fall back to below 60% of GDP only by 2026. Despite the increase, debt will remain almost 5pp below the 2011 peak of 69.3% of GDP, illustrating Malta’s strong fiscal track record. Debt declined by 27.3pp of GDP between 2011 and 2019, driven by very strong nominal GDP growth and strong increases in tax receipts. Very favourable financing conditions will drive further decline in interest payments, which we expect to average 3.2% of revenue between 2020-2022 from 8.0% in 2010, lower than the ‘A’ median of 3.9%.

    Fitch has revised down its GDP growth forecast to 4.7% for 2021 (from 5.4% previously). We anticipate that the economic recovery will be further shifted towards 2022, for which we have raised our growth expectation to 6.0% (from 3.9% previously). Containment measures were tightened again in spring to safeguard the important summer tourism season amid an all-time high of Covid-19 cases in mid-March. Following a full-year contraction of 7.8% in 2020, economic activity remained depressed in 1Q21 with a contraction of 1.8% yoy. Malta’s economic recovery will be underpinned by a sizeable carry-over effect, pent-up domestic consumption and extended fiscal stimulus measures. We expect the economy, which showed dynamism pre-pandemic, could return to growth of 3% in the medium term.

    Malta has been a frontrunner in terms of vaccination distribution, becoming the first EU country to achieve the 70% vaccination threshold for “herd immunity” on 24 May. However, international tourism receipts, which amounted to 12.5% of GDP in 2019, will only gradually recover to pre-pandemic levels in light of international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, with tourist arrivals 92% below their pre-pandemic levels in 1Q21. While we anticipate that international travel will rebound in 2H21, international arrivals in 2021 will remain 55% lower compared with pre-pandemic levels but the gap will substantially narrow to 15% by 2022. Uncertainty remains about when the UK will add Malta to its so-called “green list”, allowing quarantine-free travel for British tourists, which accounted for almost a quarter of all tourist arrivals in 2019.

    Malta’s tourism sector has been severely affected by the pandemic, but other sectors, including the IT, financial services and construction sectors have reported continued strong growth rates. This also applies to the online gaming sector, which makes up an increasingly large share of gross value added at 8.3% by 1H20. In addition, Malta’s labour market remained remarkably resilient, with an increase in employment and an only moderate increase in the very low unemployment rate to 4.3% in 2020 from 3.6% a year earlier.

    The authorities have made progress in addressing the significant deficiencies in the anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism framework. In May, Moneyval announced that Malta is now ranked largely compliant or compliant on all initial 40 recommendations to prevent money-laundering and strengthen financial supervision. Uncertainty remains about how sustained recent improvements will be. The Financial Action Task Force will use Moneyval’s technical assessment as an input to determine if Malta is re-classified as a high-risk jurisdiction, a decision expected to be taken later in June. If Malta was placed on a grey list, reputational issues could diminish the attractiveness of its financial sector.

    While Malta’s World Governance Indicators (WGI) remain above the ‘A’-rated median, perceived weaknesses in the quality of Malta’s institutions and governance framework led to a sharp deterioration in last year. Control of Corruption and Regulatory Quality indicators experienced some of the largest drops in our rated universe, declining by almost 11 percentile ranks. Unfolding corruption allegations in the context of the public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia could further affect Malta’s governance scores.

    Investing in Skills 2.0: the new scheme

    Malta Business Agency is offering advice and support to companies that are interested in participating in a new call promoted by the Maltese Government to support the development of new skills among Maltese workers.

    Businesses and professionals can take the opportunity to obtain this funding through courses organised in collaboration with the Mediterranean Academy of Culture Technology and Trade, Institute of Higher Education accredited by theMalta for Futher & Higher Education Authority”. It is possible to choose between catalogue courses or tailor-made courses, organised ad hoc according to specific company or professional needs.

    Measure: Investing in Skills (2nd call)

    Institution: Jobsplus

    Reference: This scheme falls under Malta’s Operational Programme II of the European Social Fund – ‘Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the well-being of society’ for the 2014-2020 programming period.

    Purpose: The Scheme was launched to promote the training of persons actively participating in the Maltese Labour Market, with the aim to increase productivity and enhance adaptability. 

    Application deadline: The second call was renewed as of 8 February 2021 for an indefinite period.

    Submission procedure: Applicants must submit an original and complete Investing in Skills application form together with detailed documentation. For information contact the Malta Business Agency team.

    Beneficiaries: Companies investing in staff training to improve their skills and increase the quality of the Maltese labour market.

    Type and extent of the contribution: Employers applying for the IIS Scheme under the 2nd Call will be eligible to receive a subsidy of €25.85 per trainee per hour in the case of training costs and €5.20 for of wage costs. The subsidy for wage costs is eligible for training that is held as Classroom Style Training and E-Learning Online Training (Live Sessions). Personnel Costs will NOT be eligible for E-Learning Online Training (Self-Led) or Distance Learning.

    Eligibility: Eligible employers include partnerships, companies, family businesses, associations, individual self-employed or other body of persons, NGOs and Social Partners (whether these carry out an economic activity or otherwise).

    Other requirements:

    Complete documentation – The Applicant shall fill in and submit the latest available Investing in Skills Application Form complete with all relevant details, enclosing supporting documentation, as applicable. Incomplete applications will not be accepted for processing.

    Project implemented within / for the direct benefit of the eligible territory.
    Incentive Effect: Aid shall be considered to have an incentive effect if the Beneficiary has submitted a written application for the aid before work on the project or activity starts. Therefore, claim and proof of deliverables should be dated after the submission date of the IIS application.

    Eligible Training Programme: Aid shall not be granted for training which Employers carry out to comply with National Mandatory Standards on training (in other words, it must be voluntary training as opposed to legally enforced training). Furthermore, Information Sessions and Team Building events are not eligible under Investing in Skills since these are not considered as training.

    The trainee needs to be formally employed with the beneficiary during the training period. Apprentices or students engaged in vocational training with an apprenticeship or vocational training contract are not eligible.

    Aid cannot be granted to any Undertaking found to be in difficulty. Jobsplus will conduct checks to ensure that every applicant Undertaking is financially sound
    Falls within the definition of undertaking.

    For easy and secure financing, ask for support from the Malta Business Agency team by filling in the following form.

    Strengthening anti-money laundering supervisory: MFSA’s priorities

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    The MFSA has published a status update on the implementation of the 2019 MFSA Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Funding of Terrorism (AML/CFT) supervisory strategy. The document marks the Authority’s ongoing commitment to developing and embedding best practices throughout the financial services industry, as well as internally within the organisation itself, to deter financial crime.

    The status update acts as a follow-up to the 2019 AML/CFT Strategy and provides an overview of the action points and projects that have been completed, as well as those still in progress. Since 2019, the MFSA has registered significant improvement in the area of Anti-money laundering. These include:

    • The setting up of a dedicated Financial Crime Compliance function composed of 20 fully trained employees.
    • The setting up of a separate Due Diligence function which provides an additional layer of checks and balances, complementing the Authority’s authorisations and supervisory functions.
    • The thorough and holistic review of the MFSA’s supervisory and authorisation processes.
    • The integration of an AML/CFT element in all prudential and conduct supervisory work.
    • The setting up of a new Risk function to assist in the application of the risk-based approach.
    • Extensive training programmes for all MFSA employees including mandatory AML/CFT, Sanctions and Anti-Bribery and Corruption programmes, totalling to 743 training hours as at end 2020.
    • The strengthening of the Enforcement function with additional people capacity, enabling investigations of potential breaches and prompt action in case of non-compliance.
    • Increased supervisory focus on fitness and propriety, competence, and personal liability of senior management. The MFSA requested an MLRO substitution from 16 licence applicants throughout 2019, and a further 29 in 2020.
    • Update of the Trusts and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership Register (TUBOR), which saw a ten-fold increase in registrations since its launch in 2018.
    • The revision of the Company Service Providers regime.
    • A significant increase in outreach programmes and industry awareness.

    Anthony Eddington, Head of Financial Crime Compliance at the MFSA stated that, “The MFSA has managed to increase AML/CFT full-scope examination capacity from 25 in 2019, to 81 in 2020. During these examinations, the MFSA checks the financial crime controls in place which seek to ensure that entities, such as banks and financial institutions, are not used for the purpose of laundering money or for the financing of terrorism. We also verify that if criminal activity is identified as a result of the institution’s transaction monitoring processes or other factors that come to light, a suspicious transaction report is made to the FIAU. If we identify weak systems and controls with respect to AML/CFT, this is reported to the FIAU which, in turn, takes regulatory action. As a result of our efforts, we have considerably enhanced the AML/CFT control framework through more robust intrusive inspections, evidencing effective proportionate and risk-based supervision.”

    The detection methods that have been implemented act as a credible deterrence to those parties that wish to circumvent or attempt to circumvent AML/CFT controls. With the strengthening of the Money Laundering Regulations in 2020, personal liability is placed upon all significant control function holders.

    Our measure of success is not just in numbers but rather in the improvement of compliance culture of financial services operators in Malta. We have seen a positive shift in this respect, with real investment in back-office systems, controls and people. It is more difficult today to launder money through our financial system or to finance terrorism from Malta’s financial institutions”, added Anthony Eddington.

    MFSA CEO ad interim and Chief Officer Supervision, Dr Christopher P. Buttigieg added: “The thorough and holistic review of the MFSA’s supervisory and onboarding processes has been our number one priority for the past two years. It is critical for the MFSA and its national counterparts to keep up with existing and emerging criminal threats and vulnerabilities. It is our responsibility to ensure that market players implement a strong and effective compliance framework that deters and detects criminal infiltration. Hence, significant investment in financial crime compliance is necessary and vital for the integrity of Malta’s financial system.

    The MFSA continues to identify areas where it can strengthen its practices through engagement with other Supervisory Authorities, participation in the international community and through an ongoing process of organisational development.

    The MFSA’s AML/CFT Strategy update document may be downloaded from here.

    Minister Evarist Bartolo pays a visit to the Sultanate of Oman

    Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo concluded an official visit to the Sultanate of Oman, where he held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Badr Albusaidi.
     
    Talks between the two ministers focused on potential areas for strong cooperation based on the excellent relationship between the two countries. 
     
    In fact, the ministers identified three priority areas for cooperation for the coming months. These are, namely: aquaculture, in view of the maritime nature of both countries; the pharmaceutical industry, both in terms of regulation as well as quality control; and tourism.
     
    They also agreed to cooperate in the fields of education; with an emphasis on applied learning and vocational education; and in the field of financial services, on which they aim to work together to strengthen the fight against money laundering and international organized crime. 
     
    Concurrently, both sides are expected to conclude bilateral agreements on double taxation, mutual investment and transport and air services.
     
    During the bilateral meeting, the ministers also spoke about their country’s foreign policy, which is based on the same principles. Namely neutrality; the pursuit of peace with all nations of the world; honesty and transparency in bilateral relations; tolerance towards different religions and diverse views; the promotion of dialogue and against the use of force; the commitment not to be used by other countries against their adversaries; and to use their country as a tool of reconciliation.
     
    In this context, the two sides agreed to further strengthen their relationship and to support each other in international fora.
     
    The ministers also noted developments in the Gulf region and in Libya, and hoped that these would translate into lasting peace and prosperity for all peoples.
     
    During his official visit to the Sultanate of Oman, Minister Bartolo also met the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Oman Investment Authority, with a view to achieving the goals agreed between the two ministers.

    Central Bank: outlook for the maltese economy

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    The Central Bank of Malta (Bank) expects that Malta’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 4.9% in 2021.

    The Central Bank of Malta (Bank) expects that Malta’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 4.9% in 2021, by 5.4% in 2022, and by 4.7% in 2023. Compared to the Bank’s earlier projections, GDP growth is being revised marginally downwards by 0.1 percentage point in 2021 and 2022.

    These marginal downward revisions are attributed to an expected weaker first half of 2021 – due to higher than anticipated containment measures – which we expect to be broadly offset by a stronger second half due to the very strong pace of vaccination, as well as an enhanced fiscal response. The Bank thus maintains its expectation that 2019 GDP levels are to be reached again in 2022.

    Overall, domestic demand is expected to be the main driver of growth, though the recovery in all demand components will be partially absorbed by an increase in imports. Net exports are expected to exert a smaller negative impact on GDP growth in 2021, as foreign demand starts to recover, with a positive contribution thereafter. However, the outlook for the tourism sector remains cautious.

    Despite the sharp contraction in economic activity in 2020, the labour market has shown remarkable resilience. Firms have generally been able to retain staff and have instead opted to reduce the number of hours worked. Thus, firms are expected to respond to an improvement in business conditions by returning to normal working hours. Employment growth is therefore set to decelerate to 0.9% this year, and pick up gradually in the following years, reaching 2.9% in 2023.

    Annual inflation based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices is set to edge down to 0.3% in 2021, from 0.8% in 2020, largely reflecting technical factors. Overall HICP inflation is set to edge up to 1.6% by 2023, reflecting a pick-up in economic activity, which is expected to lift prices of services and non-energy industrial goods further.

    Fiscal policy is projected to remain highly expansionary in 2021, partly driven by the extension of COVID-19 related support. In 2021, the general government deficit is set to narrow slightly to 9.9% of GDP. The deficit is projected to narrow substantially over the forecast horizon as COVID-19 measures unwind and macroeconomic conditions improve further. By 2023, it is forecast to narrow to 4.2% of GDP. Consequently, the government debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to rise to 64.0% by 2023.

    Risks to economic activity are broadly balanced in 2021 and slightly on the upside in 2022 and 2023. Private consumption could surprise on the upside due to pent-up demand and large accumulated savings. In addition, exports could surprise on the upside in case of a stronger pick up in tourism demand if Malta is able to increase market shares due to its high vaccination rate. On the downside, the pandemic situation might deteriorate if vaccines are less effective against new strains, hitting also foreign demand. With regards to prices, risks are judged to be on the upside, reflecting the possibility of faster transmission of the recent surge in transport costs to consumer prices. Risks to public finances are mainly deficit increasing and primarily reflect the need to provide State aid to the national airline.

    This publication also includes two boxes. The first analyses the impact implications of the 2021 HICP weights on inflation forecasts, and the second updates the impact of COVID-19 fiscal and liquidity measures on GDP. The Bank estimates that the latter measures will boost GDP by 2.1 percentage points, effectively accounting for nearly half of the projected economic expansion in 2021.

    More details on the Bank’s latest projections can be found here.

    Support towards English Learning Tourists

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    The Malta Tourism Authority is committed to supporting English Language Students staying for a minimum of 15 nights to a maximum of 30 nights in the Maltese Islands. This scheme forms part of the Malta Tourism Authority‘s recovery measures specifically targeting Educational Tourism.

    Introduction 

    The scheme seeks to incentivise English Language Students applying for courses in licenced English Language Schools teaching English Language in the Maltese Islands necessitating a physical presence of a duration of minimum of 15 nights capped at a maximum of 30 nights.

    Duration of the Scheme

    The scheme to commence on 1st June 2021 applicable for students commencing their language courses as from 1st June 2021 until the funds have been fully allocated. Applications for this scheme will be received as from Monday 10th May 2021.

    Designated Authority 

    This Scheme is administered by the Malta Tourism Authority. 

    Budget 

    This scheme has a budget of € 1,000,000

    Downloads

    Click here to find out more about this Scheme and its Terms and Conditions. 

    Open a small business in Malta: we are at your side

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    Do you want to open a small business in Malta? Rely on the strategic and operational advice of the team of Malta Business Agency, ready to accompany you on a path towards the start-up of a new business taking advantage of a series of positives guaranteed by the Malta system from the economic, commercial, legal, bureaucratic and fiscal point of view.

    The ideal, and most widely used, formula for setting up a small business is the limited liability company (Ltd), which can be registered with a minimum share capital of 1,165 euros to be deposited locally through the opening of a bank account. A minimum of two shareholders, a secretary, a manager and articles of association are also required.

    Malta Business Agency’s team will assist you with all this, as well as registering with the tax authority Commisioner for Revenue for the payment of taxes and contributions.

    Other possible types of companies more suited to your business needs will be evaluated and proposed following a preliminary analysis aimed at the realization of a real business model, concrete and durable, which can consolidate the identification of “permanent establishment” in the Maltese territory.

    Malta offers advantages for operating in a wide range of sectors. To give a few examples, the island lends itself to the registration and launch in the market of tourist agencies, grocery stores or mini markets, small craft activities (such as a barber shop, a dental office or a cosmetic clinic), a credit company, a small farm. But also, and above all, traditional or innovative startup activities, supported by a competitive regime of incentives for their development and internationalization, starting from a country that in the last decade has consistently been among the best performing economies in Europe.

    If you have a good idea, a passion to turn into a profession and a minimum amount of capital to start your small business, the team of Malta Business Agency and its network of professionals will be at your side to guide you to success.

    Emirates to resume flights from Dubai to Malta

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    Emirates will resume its thrice-weekly flights from Dubai to Malta via Larnaca, Cyprus, from July 14, 2021. Travellers from the UAE can avail of quarantine-free travel to the Mediterranean country.

    The airline’s European network will therefore have increased to 34 destinations.

    Flights to and from Malta will operate through the airline’s existing Larnaca service on its two-class Boeing 777-200LR.

    Emirates flight EK109 will depart Dubai every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8am, arriving in Larnaca at 11.10am. The flight will leave Larnaca at 12.20pm, arriving in Malta at 2.05pm. Emirates customers can also avail of the carrier’s codeshare agreement with Air Malta for further travel to European destinations from Malta.

    The return flight, EK110 leaves Malta at 3.35pm, arriving in Larnaca at 7pm. It will leave Larnaca at 8.10pm, arriving 1.05am in Dubai the next day.

    Effective June 2, 2021, Emirates customers travelling to Malta, who are 5 years old and above, are required to hold a negative Covid-19 test certificate for a test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Malta.

    Passengers must also present a completed Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate at check-in to be accepted for travel to Malta. Fully vaccinated Maltese nationals or Malta residency permit holders may present a Maltese vaccination certificate instead of a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate when returning to Malta.

    As part of the Incentives for Free Independent Travellers (Fit) Scheme launched by the Malta Tourism Authority to boost tourism, Emirates passengers visiting the Maltese Islands for a minimum of three nights can also avail of discounted rates offered by local hotels in Malta and earn up to EUR200 credit when booking directly through them.

    There are now more than 30 cities in 20 countries across the Emirates network that travellers from the UAE can travel to for tourism and business, quarantine free.

    The Dubai-based airline added that it will operate over 280 weekly flights in July from Dubai to cities in Europe, the US, Middle East and Africa, among other destinations.

    Russia hails Malta’s reciprocal moves on double taxation

    During a working visit to Russia, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In Sochi, the two sides discussed a wide array of topics of bilateral, regional and international importance.

    In a press statement following the meeting, Minister Bartolo described the talks as very cordial and respectful. He stressed that whatever the differences between nations, if there is the will to safeguard the future of this planet, we must keep talking to eachother and have honest and frank conversations.

    In this context, Minister Bartolo welcomed the news of an upcoming summit between the USA and Russia and the prospect of normalising relations between the two states. He added that the same can be done between the EU and Russia as long as there is good will and respect from both sides.

    Minister Bartolo stressed that respect for international law remains crucial for Malta, and that such relations must always be within this framework. From a bilateral perspective, Minister Bartolo said that Malta is very happy with the steadily improving ties in trade and tourism between the two countries, although more needs to be done. In this regard, he announced that in the coming weeks Malta and Russia will sign new MoUs in the fields of sport, culture and health.

    Minister Bartolo held that cooperation with Russia is also strong in the fight against international organized crime and the financing of terrorism. Referring to the Middle East conflict, Bartolo explained that Malta and Russia are on the same page and that the ceasefire alone will not resolve this tragic issue. In this context, he called for a lasting solution through which Israelis and Palestinians live next to each other, in security and peace and, above all, enjoying equal rights.

    The two sides also had a positive exchange of views on Libya, with Minister Bartolo reiterating Malta’s belief in a free, united Libya run by Libyans. Importantly, he announced that upon receiving the Libyan Government’s instructions, the Government of Malta is ready to ship the 1.2 billion dinars currently held in Malta to be used for the good and wellbeing of the Libyan people who have endured so much suffering over the years.

    Minister Bartolo concluded that Malta is also happy to work with Russia in the fight against all forms of intolerance. He also stressed that if we want to learn from history, we must also make sure to set the record straight on WWII and to recognize the very important role that Russia played in the victory over Nazism which put the rest of humanity at risk. 

    On the other hand, the Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed satisfaction with the recent agreement reached between the two countries against double taxation:”We have noted Malta’s efforts to adapt national laws, specifically in the tax sphere, to the requirements of international financial regulators,” Lavrov said. “We commend our partners for the prompt ratification of the protocol of the bilateral convention on the avoidance of double taxation. This will definitely benefit the legal regulation of relations between our countries in this sphere,” he specified.

    The parties also discussed “opportunities for teaming up to combat the coronavirus pandemic and spoke in favor of the gradual restoration of tourist exchanges, particularly considering that Aeroflot’s scheduled direct flights to Malta will restart today,” the Russian Foreign Minister pointed out.

    The outcome of the talks confirmed the interest of both countries in cultivating relations in very different areas, despite the challenging situation in international affairs and the remaining epidemic restrictions, Lavrov noted.

    Residency Malta Agency launches Nomad Residence Permit

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    Residency Malta Agency, in collaboration with Identity Malta Agency, has launched a Nomad Residence Permit. The purpose of this initiative is to offer third country nationals the opportunity to work remotely from Malta for a temporary period, in line and in accordance with the legal framework already in place.

    Applicants who wish to work remotely from Malta for a temporary period of up to one year must prove they can work remotely, independent of location. They should either work for an employer registered abroad, conduct business activity for a company registered abroad, and of which they are partners or shareholders, or offer freelance or consulting services to clients whose permanent establishments are in a foreign country.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities Alex Muscat said, “This initiative will see Malta jump on the bandwagon of increased demand for remote working globally, as the pandemic shifted goalposts and new trends are being set. Individuals who can work remotely using technology and entrepreneurs with a flair for travelling and discovering new countries and cultures are being made welcome in Malta. Malta is a country that has much to offer, from its mild climate to a Mediterranean lifestyle, where English is a national language and history and culture permeate every corner of our island, not to mention access to excellent health care services, nomads will feel right at ease the minute they land here. The new Nomad Residence Permit is yet another initiative taken to attract foreign consumption in Malta.

    If there are any lessons learnt from the pandemic is that people are willing to move more than ever before,” said Charles Mizzi, Chief Executive Officer of Residency Malta Agency. “Early to recognise the signs, Residency Malta has launched this new permit that allows digital nomads to come to Malta and work here, while enjoying all the perks that Malta offers foreigners. The process is simple and we promise an efficient service that discerning nomads expect.”

    Anton Sevasta, Chief Executive Officer of Identity Malta Agency said: “The new visa service to nomad applicants is part of the new Premium Visa Service which Identity Malta Agency will be launching in the coming weeks. The service is a door-to-door option intended for highly skilled professionals in order to streamline the process without compromising the due diligence process.”​​

    Malta in pursuit of trade opportunities with the Emirates

    Strengthening trade cooperation between Malta and the United Arab Emirates was at the top of the agenda during a meeting held between Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri and Minister for the Economy of the Emirates Abdalla Bin Touq Al Marri and Minister of State for Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi.

    Business opportunities for both countries, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic trends around the world were the main topics of discussion. The United Arab Emirates’ ministers said that they look forward to more commercial collaborations, which will attract further investment in both countries. The meeting between the ministers will be followed by other meetings with a technical and political basis in Malta, to implement what has been agreed between Malta and the Emirates.

    Minister Schembri held this meeting against the backdrop of the AIBC Summit event in Dubai, which was attended by a large number of delegates from all over the world, to share their ideas and exhibit products and services related to emerging technologies. During his speech, the Minister highlighted the success that Malta has achieved in terms of the digital economy and its sector – a success that has been attributed to the sustaining of a healthy economy, as well as a framework that allows for the best possible use of technology.

    Minister Schembri noted that, by virtue of a robust economy, the government was able to offer financial assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them, he mentioned the business loan guarantees, the wage supplement for each business and two rounds of vouchers of €100 for every person over 16 years of age. The news that Malta has achieved herd immunity just a few days ago was well-received by the audience, a fact that bodes well for the Maltese economy and businesses.

    The Minister also spoke of the fact that in 2018 Malta was the first jurisdiction in the world to create a regulatory framework for emerging technologies, including blockchain, while in 2019 the national strategy for artificial intelligence was launched, with the aim of making Malta the best launchpad for this same technology by 2030. He also mentioned the launch of the Technology Assurance Sandbox by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, which aims to guide digital start-ups in the creation of their products and services.

    The Maltese Minister announced that, in the coming weeks, the economic vision for the next ten years will be published – a vision which aims to make Malta a fair and successful nation, which encourages and supports continued investment in innovation, research, human resource development, creativity, and the urban environment. “We want to ensure Malta’s future success by emphasizing innovative solutions which place our country as the digital island of the future and among the best economies,” said Minister Schembri.

    He said that Malta is open to trade, and its small size offers the ideal environment in which products are tested, even in the early stages, according to internationally recognised standards. The elements which make up the digital economy and infrastructure are consolidated, while the size and position of the country make Malta an attractive and interesting hotspot for successful initiatives, concluded the Minister for the Economy and Industry.

    Minister Schembri also had several meetings with foreign investors, who showed interest in investing in our country. Minister Schembri was accompanied by the Maltese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Maria Camilleri Calleja.

    Do you want to reach a foreign market by exploiting Malta’s strategic relationships? Contact the Malta Business Agency team to learn more about our internationalisation support activities.

    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.