The Malta Business Bureau (MBB) and Bank of Valletta (BOV) have joined forces to conduct an extensive study as to whether local businesses are being provided with the right access to finance that will enable them to operate effectively in the EU single market. The presence of SMEs is critical for the European economy, nonetheless it is widely acknowledged that more needs to be done for them to reach their full potential and this can only be achieved with the right access to finance.
A study that is being commissioned by the MBB, in collaboration with BOV, will shed light on Malta’s current access to finance that is being provided by credit institutions to local businesses. MBB President George Vella said that the study will also include concrete recommendations to both Government and credit institutions as to the financial products and access that local SMEs require to reap the full benefit of their potential and contribute further towards economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
Within the European context, over 21 million SMEs operate within the single market, and together they are responsible for most of the sustainable economic growth and job creation in Europe. The economic crisis in recent years has however restricted SMEs from gaining access to finance, which is often considered the lifeline for start-ups, enterprise sustainability and business expansion. In light of this, one of the key actions in the twelve levers recommended by the European Commission last year - aimed to boost economic growth and strengthen confidence in the single market was specifically “access to finance”.
Having a strong and successful presence of SMEs, the Maltese private sector is increasingly contributing towards economic growth and employment generation. The local economic scenario complements the general trends displayed across the EU, whereby SMEs are the prime vehicles through which value added is produced, particularly in the non-financial business economy, whilst also serving to generate jobs outside the public sector. Local business patterns differ from the mainstream European model, particularly due to the size of local enterprises, even though the vast majority of Malta-based businesses pertain to the lower-end categories of the EU SME definition. For this, most local SMEs lie within the micro-enterprises category.
Like their continental counterparts, Maltese businesses face significant difficulties in obtaining the financing they require in order to grow and be more innovative. Access to finance to help support the steady expansion of business operations is a real challenge for all businesses, with the assumption being that the smaller and “younger” the business is within its lifecycle, the more problematic it is to obtain credit lines.
Following the successful completion of an impact assessment on the European Commission proposals for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) earlier this year, MBB and BOV have joined forces again to collaborate on another critical study, which will focus its efforts specifically on businesses and their access to finance. MBB President George Vella highlighted how in recent years MBB has been very active in issues related to the European Single Market and how legislations may impact Maltese business. “While in our first study our intention was to quantify the impact of the proposed CCCTB Directive on Malta should it be adopted at EU-level, this time it is our intention to draw up a report with recommendations on financial products that our SMEs and micro-enterprises are likely to require at various stages of their business development and business cycles,” he stated.
Mr Vella continued: “This assessment study will strengthen and consolidate the MBB’s work related to the European Single Market, by presenting solid recommendations to both Government and the local credit institutions on the real financial requirements of our businesses, in order for them to continue to contribute towards growth and employment in the Maltese economy.”
The assessment study is entitled: “Market gaps in access to finance and the feasibility of new financing instruments in the EU, addressing the credit needs of Maltese business.” Consultants are invited to view the Terms of Reference from the MBB website www.mbb.org.mtand submit their application to the Chief Executive Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 28th September 2012.