The Malta Independent 8 May 2021, Saturday

Malta remains most difficult place in EU to do business, despite score increase - World Bank

Albert Galea Friday, 25 October 2019, 08:01 Last update: about 3 years ago

Despite a marginal score increase on a similar study last year, Malta remains the lowest ranked European Union country in the World Bank’s ranking on the ease of doing business.

Sitting in 88th place out of 190 countries with a score of 66.1 out of 100, Malta’s rank dropped by four places this year even though its score increased by a marginal 0.6.


It means that it is, according to the World Bank, easier to do businesses in the 27 other EU countries, and other countries such as Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Zambia, Azerbaijan, and Panama.

Launched in 2002, the Doing Business project states that it provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement while looking at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.  It gathers comprehensive, quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time.

The study covers and ranks 190 countries according to 12 indicators, which are categorised into five groups; opening a business, getting a location, accessing finance, dealing with day-to-day operations, and operating in a secure business environment.

The first group – opening a business – looks at two indicators: starting a business and employing workers. No score is given for the latter; however Malta scores a strong 88.2 points for starting a business, placing it in 86th place. 

The World Bank highlighted that an improvement in this regard has been made, with Malta’s score rising by 3.3 points, and in fact explained that Malta made starting a business easier by implementing an online one-stop shop for the registration of employers, employees, and value added tax.  In fact, Malta was ranked in 103rd place in this indicator last year.

In the second group of indicators – getting a location – it will perhaps not come as a surprise to many that Malta fares well in dealing with construction permits, ranking in 57th with a score of 73.5 – an improvement of 0.1, but a loss of 12 places in the overall ranking from last year.

In this same set of indicators, a noteworthy improvement of 3 points was registered in the getting electricity indicator, with the report noting that Malta has “increased the reliability of power supply by upgrading its power grid infrastructure and launching a network planning and operations control centre.”

In other indicators, Malta fares best compared to other countries when it comes to enforcing contracts, sitting in 41st place with a score of 67.6, trading across borders, sitting in 48th place with a score of 88.9, while the country also fares well in protecting minority investors, ranking in 51st place with a score of 66.  The scores themselves remain unchanged from last year’s report.

At the other end of the spectrum, Malta’s scores and rankings for resolving insolvency, registering property, and getting credit make for grim reading.

With a score of 48.5, Malta ranks in 152nd place out of 190 countries for registering property, with the report noting that Malta requires 7 procedures – higher than the regional Middle East & Africa average, 13.5% of the property value as a cost – almost triple the aforementioned average – and had a land administration index, which is based on reliability of infrastructure, transparency of information, geographic coverage, land dispute resolution, and equal access to property rights, which scores only 12.5 out of 30.

In terms of getting credit, Malta ranks at 144th place with a score of only 35, while the country sits in 121st place for resolving insolvency, with a score of 38.3.

While Malta has an overall score of 66.1 and sits in 88th place, it is New Zealand (86.8), Singapore (86.2), Hong Kong, and Denmark (both 85.3) who top the rankings. Georgia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Lithuania also fare well, while the EU countries which are closest to Malta are Greece (68.4), Luxembourg (69.6), Bulgaria (72.0), and Italy (72.9).


The full World Bank Doing Business report along with the data for each country can be found at

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