Malta Chamber expresses concern over World Bank ranking
Simplification Commissioner highlights road ahead
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.”