The Malta Independent 26 September 2023, Tuesday
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World Bank: Malta improves but remains the EU’s most difficult place to do business

The Malta Business Weekly Thursday, 30 October 2014, 11:06 Last update: about 10 years ago

Malta remains the worst place in the European Union in which to do business, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2015 released yesterday.

The influential report, which is referred to by international investors when determining foreign direct investment locations, places Malta as the 94th (up from 103rd  last year) most friendly place in the world in which to do business out of 189 countries gauged this year. Malta's ranking was 102nd in its debut to the index two years ago.

The main sore points about doing business in Malta, according to the World Bank, were in the areas of getting credit (171th, up from 180th) starting a business (136th, up from 161st), dealing with construction permits (109th, up from 163rd), getting electricity (114th, up from 115th) and in enforcing contracts (107th, up from 122nd).

In some areas, Malta actually did worse than last yearm, while in others it did better -  registering property (83rd, down from 77th), protecting investors (51st, up from 68th), paying taxes (26th, up from 27th), trading across borders (43rd, down from 34th), and resolving insolvency (86th, down from 64th).

In only one area, Malta was highlighted as having improved on last year. Malta made starting a business easier by creating an electronic link between the Registrar of Companies and the Inland Revenue Department to facilitate issuance of a tax identification number.

The report, subtitled "Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium Size Enterprises", compares business regulations for domestic firms in 189 countries.  Among the Malta contributors to the World Bank report are the country's top law, audit, shipping and architectural firms, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the Finance Ministry's Customs Department, the Inland Revenue Department, and the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Land Registry, the Enemalta Corporation,

The Doing Business report sheds light on how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run a small to medium-size business when complying with relevant regulations. It measures and tracks changes in regulations affecting 10 areas in the life cycle of a business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

 "This year, we see a higher number of reforms - 18 per cent more - the second-highest number since the financial crisis," said Rita Ramalho, programme manager for Doing Business at the World Bank Group. 

"This pick-up in pace of regulatory reform is good news particularly for small and medium-size businesses - the main job creators in many parts of the world."

The increase is part of a decade-long trend in which countries are shortening the amount of time it takes to start a business and streamlining the process of exporting or importing goods, to name two examples of reform, she observed.

But, the 2014 report notes, over the previous year Malta had undertaken just one reform that helped ease doing business in Malta, by having made "dealing with construction permits less costly by significantly reducing the building permit fees".

"Countries want to be more competitive and to be prepared for when their markets are more open to international trade," said Ms Ramalho.

They also want businesses to be able to survive competition from foreign firms, she added.

"Governments across the globe realise the private sector is an important motor of development and job creation," she added. "And they realise it's important to have the right regulations that enable the development of the private sector."




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