Malta Cham­ber ex­presses con­cern over World Bank rank­ing

Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion Com­mis­sioner high­lights road ahead

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - He­lena Grech

The Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce, En­ter­prise and In­dus­try has ex­pressed con­cern with the World Bank’s ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ing of 190 coun­tries, where Malta placed 76th – last place amongst EU mem­ber states.

Both the Malta Cham­ber and the Com­mis­sioner for sim­pli­fi­ca­tion and re­duc­tion of bu­reau­cracy An­drew Agius De­celis praised re­cent gov­ern­ment mea­sures that work to­wards in­crease the ease of do­ing busi­ness in Malta.

In re­ac­tion to Malta’s rank­ing, a spokesper­son for the Malta Cham­ber said that it, “Can­not but ex­press its con­cern on the news in cap­tion, namely Malta plac­ing in the last place amongst the 28 Euro­pean Mem­ber States on the Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness Scale of the World Bank. The Cham­ber ac­knowl­edges that Malta has im­proved its po­si­tion from last year, but this was not enough to re­main ahead of our fel­low Euro­pean states as we still fea­tured at the bot­tom of the EU list.

“This un­der­lines one of the prin­ci­ple be­liefs of the Cham­ber of Com­merce – Com­pet­i­tive­ness is a never-end­ing job. The one sec­ond any coun­try stops striv­ing to bet­ter its com­pet­i­tive­ness, it is swiftly over­taken by its com­peti­tors, as we can clearly see in this re­port.

“The Cham­ber there­fore once again calls on gov­ern­ment to re­view its po­si­tion on a num­ber of is­sues that de­ter­mine the coun­try’s cost com­pet­i­tive­ness that may be af­fect­ing po­ten­tial in­vestors’ will to move to Malta.

“Gov­ern­ment should be ac­tively work­ing on im­prov­ing Malta’s po­si­tion in the World Bank’s list of coun­tries for ‘ease of do­ing busi­ness’. The coun­try can­not ful­fil its as­pi­ra­tions of serv­ing as a hub for in­ter­na­tional com­merce – par­tic­u­larly in the ser­vices in­dus­try – un­less we can boast ef­fi­cient pro­cesses for busi­ness and en­ter­prise.

“In­deed we wel­come the Gov­ern­ment's prom­ise in the re­cent bud­get speech, to de­crease the num­ber of days from 30 to 3 when open­ing a busi­ness. This mea­sure should as­sist our cur­rent rank­ing of 132nd, as well as show a re­newed strat­egy that the coun­try means busi­ness and wants to at­tract new and in­no­va­tive, lo­cal and for­eign in­vest­ment which ex­pects to have less bur­den­some pro­ce­dures with which to op­er­ate.

“No one owes Malta a liv­ing and in­vest­ment is at­tracted to­wards our shores based on the cost com­pet­i­tive­ness of our coun­try. If we keep over-look­ing th­ese is­sues which are brought up by busi­nesses on a daily ba­sis, we risk to con­tinue to chip away at our com­pet­i­tive­ness.”

The main sore points about do­ing busi­ness in Malta, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank’s au­thor­i­ta­tive study, re­main in the ar­eas of reg­is­ter­ing prop­erty, get­ting credit start­ing a busi­ness, re­solv­ing in­sol­vency, deal­ing with con­struc­tion per­mits and get­ting elec­tric­ity.

Re­cent mea­sures will de­liver pos­i­tive re­sults next year

Mr Agius De­celis said that, “The rank­ing notes that Malta im­proved its po­si­tion by seven places from 83rd last year to 76th this year, and we are con­fi­dent that mea­sures taken in past months will de­liver more pos­i­tive re­sults next year. The gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing bu­reau­cratic pro­ce­dures even fur­ther so that open­ing a busi­ness in Malta will take less than a week.

“It is im­por­tant to high­light that this ad­min­is­tra­tion started off from a sit­u­a­tion whereby Malta was placed in 102th place in 2012, mean­ing that our coun­try has gained 26 places in 4 years. When com­par­ing Malta’s 2012 rank­ings to the past three years, one can pin­point pos­i­tive im­prove­ments in var­i­ous as­pects, no­tably in start­ing - up a busi­ness, bank loans to new clients through the re­cently es­tab­lished credit reg­is­ter, and bet­ter ac­cess and cost of elec­tric­ity. ”

Turn­ing to con­crete mea­sures un­der­taken un­der this Com­mis­sion, he added that: “This gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted in im­prov­ing Malta’s at­trac­tive­ness and has un­der­taken a rad­i­cal sim­pli­fi­ca­tion re­form of the bu­reau­cratic pro­cesses which en­trepreneurs need to fol­low in order to op­er­ate a busi­ness.

“The ini­tia­tive en­tails the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of all ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses from the start-up phase to clo­sure through in­ter­net-based ap­pli­ca­tions.

“Dur­ing this year, we have set up the Col­lage of Reg­u­la­tors within the Min­istry of En­ter­prises and Small Busi­nesses. Also, a task force was set up in the past months to fa­cil­i­tate the ease of open­ing a busi­ness and a new elec­tronic sys­tem will soon be un­veiled which should re­duce the time con­sid­er­ably.

“In fact, a few days ago, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion com­mented pos­i­tively on our in­dica­tives for re­duc­ing bu­reau­cracy and soft­ened its rec­om­men­da­tions for Malta in this re­gard.

“Nat­u­rally, more needs to be done for our busi­nesses to keep shar­ing the ben­e­fits of the reg­is­tered his­toric eco­nomic growth and strengthen their po­si­tion as the job-gen­er­a­tion cat­a­lyst which has al­ready ren­dered un­em­ploy­ment to an all-time low. We will con­tinue to work harder to make Malta per­form more ef­fi­ciently.”

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