The Malta Independent 21 October 2019, Monday

Anti-money laundering is a bigger challenge than any single government can handle alone - Scicluna

Jeremy Micallef Monday, 16 September 2019, 11:10 Last update: about 2 months ago

The fight against money laundering is a bigger challenge than any single government or authority can handle on its own, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today.

He was meeting a high-level UK business delegation to discuss business opportunities.

He said that measures taken in this regard are a question about being strong while at the same time not interfering in legitimate business, between regulating and not over-regulating. He also mentioned that Malta is working with the British Home Office to strengthen security and the opening of a national agency against financial crimes.

Speaking from the Malta Stock Exchange in Valletta, Scicluna also pointed out the special relationship between Malta and the U.K.

 The Finance Minister praised the administration's work over the last seven years, pointing to the rapid economic growth as a sign of success, and future predictions for 2019 and 2020 showing growth of over 5% at the very least.

On the note of labour, he said that Europe has been an important source for the free flow of human resources to Malta with individuals coming from over 100 countries around the world.

"You get the sense that you're walking in London," he quipped.

Scicluna admitted that planning was the way to deal with the issues with limited space on the island, particularly with regards to infrastructure, water management and waste management - noting that infrastructure has had to catch up with the economic growth of the island over the last five years.

The number of cranes erected in the country was a result of supply trying to catch up with demand, he said.

He insisted on the importance of a diversified economy, saying that every opportunity must be taken because waiting for tomorrow is too late.

Scicluna also raised the issue of a digital tax, an issue which has seen relations between France and the USA sour in recent months, but the Finance Minister insisted that technical people must look to see what is going on in the sector before such a tax is implemented.

Taxation on fuels with the intention of curbing climate change was also spoken of by Scicluna, pointing out that Malta is more aware of the international dimensions of this issue than continental Europe.

"If we want to respect climate change then agreements must be global."

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