PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE: Minister for Finance reacts to the European Commission’s Malta Country Report 2018

On April 11th, the government will be communicating a strategic plan to strengthen its institutions, combat money laundering and fight tax evasion after engaging an international consultancy firm which carried out a national risk assessment of the financial institutions. To oversee the implementation of this plan, a National Coordinating Committee, with its own permanent secretariat, has been set up. This was announced by Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna at an event during which the European Commission presented Malta’s Country Report for 2018.

Minister Scicluna said that, one of the most salient proofs of government’s commitment to such reports is the fact that in a few years, we managed to reduce the Country Specific Recommendations from five to two.

The minister said that our economic success lies in the fact that we adopt the Country Report as our agenda and we implement the recommendations.

He expressed his satisfaction at the Commission acknowledging the success of government policies in consolidating public finances, attaining robust and sustainable economic growth rates, achieving a positive external balance, and enhancing the quantity and the quality of labour.

He said that the European Semester is a framework which disciplines governments, stressing that the Country Report is an objective insight and a learning exercise.

We are continually being monitored by international organisations and rating agencies which help us continue to achieve a sustainable economic growth, stated the Minister.

Minister Scicluna said that growth has remained dynamic and has been job-rich, whilst prospects look favourable and the fiscal outlook remains positive.

The minister further remarked that the Country Report recognises that the current account continues to show a marked surplus while noting that the balance of Malta’s net international investment position is one of the highest in the EU after the Netherlands.

Minister Scicluna spoke about the challenges Malta is facing, particularly that of road infrastructure. He said that the government is aware that Malta’s economic growth cannot be lopsided. In this regard, the Cabinet has just approved the setting up of a road agency to deal with such issues.

Source: Government of Malta