Government commits €100 million to SMEs

Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech closes an information session entitled “Access to Finance”.

The Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech speaking during the ‘Access toFinance’ information session held on Saturday  said this year alone, the government has already committed nearly €100 million of the 2014-2020 programmes in clear support to SMEs.

Minister Grech said that €50 million grants under the new ERDF Grant Schemes and €30 million from the European Social Fund will be made available. In addition, through the SME Initiative, another €60 million of funds are available, which around 850 enterprises will benefit through this scheme, he said. If these funds are absorbed, we will top up our contributions to the Fund, Mr Grech continued.

Shifting to the Malta Development Bank, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the upcoming bank will be a major tool to provide the much needed finance to SMEs. The bank will provide financing, through loans, investments and guarantees to enterprises, including SME’s and start-ups. He continued that the proposed Malta Development Bank Act should pass through Parliament by the end of this year.

Mr Grech said that on the international front, especially during the Maltese Presidency, the government will continue to work within the European Union for the completion of the Capital Markets Union. This is the Commission’s plan to help mobilise capital in Europe, channeling it to companies, including SMEsnand infrastructure projects that need it to expand and create jobs. The plan isnto link savers and investors and create new opportunities for growth, thusnmaking access to financing easier, he continued.

The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the buoyant state of the Maltese economy and anticipated that employment will continue to grow as well the GDP. He said that the government immediate aim is to reduce the deficit to well below the 1% mark and reduce the debt ratio below the 60% of the Gross Domestic Product. It’s been a long time and if this is attained, it will be truly an achievement, continued Mr Grech.

This government will continue to assist low and middle income workers through tax relief, supplementary income and lower utility tariffs, Mr Grechnsaid. He concluded how plans include the expansions and upgrading of crafts villages using EU funds, addressing export credit, the further development of the Life Sciences Park, further resources in research and development, more reductions in bureaucratic processes, and addressing bank guarantees to be more business friendly.

The session was organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in collaboration with Grant Thornton, Bank of Valletta p.l.c., Malta Stock Exchange p.l.c., Enterprise Europe Network and the Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section.