Malta En­ter­prise ‘way be­low radar for in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies seek­ing to in­vest in Malta’

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A sur­vey car­ried out by the Malta In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment shows that the ex­is­tence of Malta En­ter­prise is not well­known among in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies seek­ing to in­vest in Malta.

“It is alarm­ing to note for ex­am­ple, that the Malta En­ter­prise is way be­low radar for in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies seek­ing to in­vest in Malta.

“This is a waste of valu­able re­sources, es­pe­cially given that the agency of­fers a ster­ling ser­vice to over­seas in­vestors who are will­ing to set up busi­ness in Malta. Our ship­build­ing fa­cil­i­ties are an­other case in point; the right mes­sage re­gard­ing the level of fa­cil­i­ties needs to be trans­mit­ted far and wide and needs to be pro­moted as such,” the in­sti­tute noted.

“It quite de­fies the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing Malta as a mar­itime hub, when the pro­mo­tion of all the ben­e­fits this rep­re­sents is not reach­ing the rel­e­vant and ap­pro­pri­ate sources, es­pe­cially when the most com­mon un­ap­peal­ing fac­tors cited by this par­tic­u­lar set of par­tic­i­pants seem to be high costs, fol­low­ing bu­reau­cracy, com­pli­ance costs, bad en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, su­pe­rior com­pe­ti­tion and age­ing work­force, re­spec­tively.

“All these neg­a­tive fac­tors need to be coun­ter­acted by pro­mot­ing well the num­ber of ben­e­fits the coun­try has to of­fer, for the in­dus­try to truly grow and flour­ish.”

The Mar­itime In­dus­try in Malta has long been hailed as one of the main pil­lars of Malta’s econ­omy.

To this aim the Malta In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment has con­ducted in­ten­sive re­search and a sur­vey was built to gather a clearer pic­ture of how the sec­tor is viewed at in­ter­na­tional level; whether Malta re­ally does fea­ture on the global map and to what ex­tent.

With par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries in Europe, specif­i­cally Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Ger­many and Turkey form­ing part of the sur­vey data, 95% were in the ship­ping sec­tor, while the re­main­ing 5% were bro­ker­age firms.

A lit­tle over half (52.4%) of the par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies have in­vested cross border, cit­ing prof­itabil­ity (46%), costs (27%), in­vestor de­mands (18%) and tax reg­u­la­tion (9%) as their pri­mary rea­sons for in­vest­ment.

While it has tran­spired that 90% of re­spon­dents know about Malta, the ma­jor­ity de­clined to cite a rea­son as to why they did not in­vest in the coun­try, since they ei­ther did not know what Malta could of­fer or had other places in mind.

How­ever, 33% of the com­pa­nies would in­vest if Malta had cheap costs, 19% an­swered tax reg­u­la­tion and an­other 19% con­ve­nience, 10% said em­ploy­ment and an­other 10% did not an­swer.

The re­main­ing 9% an­swered mar­ket ex­po­sure/ com­pe­ti­tion.

The re­spon­dents were asked what part of the Mar­itime sec­tor they were at­tracted to with Mar­itime Trans­port procur­ing 52.4% of the re­sults.

The tran­ship­ment of pe­tro­leum which plays a vi­tal role in at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional traders and can be a link to North Africa and the Mid­dle East is cited as rea­son for in­vest­ing in Malta by only 14% – a huge con­trast to 52.4% who quoted Malta’s Bunker­ing Zones as an at­trac­tion for in­vest­ing in the coun­try.

Malta’s ship­ping flag – the largest in Europe, of­fer­ing ser­vices such as re­duc­ing VAT from 18% to 5.4% on reg­is­tered su­pery­achts is also cited by 62% of the par­tic­i­pants as a rea­son for set­ting up busi­ness.

Malta’s Ship­build­ing fa­cil­i­ties do not seem to fea­ture all too high as in­cen­tive for in­vest­ment with only 43% of the par­tic­i­pants an­swer­ing pos­i­tively. 72% would con­sider Malta if the oil and gas sec­tor were de­vel­oped fur­ther.

Malta En­ter­prise is a gov­ern­ment agency that pro­vides ser­vices to for­eign in­vestors as well as acts as a trad­ing hub for com­pa­nies in Europe, North Africa and the Mid­dle East.

Un­for­tu­nately, a stag­ger­ing 71.4% of the par­tic­i­pants said that they were not aware of its ex­is­tence.

How­ever, upon in­for­ma­tion of its op­er­a­tions, 81% of re­spon­dents said they would use such an as­so­ci­a­tion to in­vest in Malta.

From the above find­ings, it is clear that with re­gard to the mar­itime sec­tor, the com­pet­i­tive fis­cal/ le­gal and cor­po­rate sup­port of­fered by Malta ranks high as an in­cen­tive to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment in the in­dus­try, as well as Malta be­ing a ship­ping hub and the ben­e­fits of the Malta flag, the in­sti­tute said.

How­ever, the lack of vis­i­bil­ity of Malta En­ter­prise as men­tioned ear­lier is work­ing against Malta’s in­ter­ests.

There has never been a bet­ter time for the newly launched Malta Mar­itime Fo­rum, which aims to iden­tify and re­solve the var­i­ous chal­lenges faced by the in­dus­try’s var­i­ous sec­tors, to take on a more ac­tive role and prop­erly high­light the ad­van­tages that Malta has to of­fer on the rel­e­vant and ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­na­tional plat­forms, the in­sti­tute said.

Con­duct­ing in-depth re­search as to how the in­dus­try can fa­cil­i­tate for­eign in­vest­ment and make Malta even more at­trac­tive to the world’s ma­jor ship­ping play­ers should at this point in time, be on top of the Malta Mar­itime Fo­rum’s agenda.

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