PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AND THE IMPLEMANTATION OF THE ELECTORAL MANIFESTO: Deputy Prime Minister pledges more funds in support of SMEs

The Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech today announced a further Euros 6 million of financial facilities to support investment by SMEs in Malta.

He said that this is the second agreement with a financial intermediary in Malta concerning the SME Initiative that will absorb Malta’s total allocation under this initiative. The SME Initiative, through the leveraged effect, will be making available some Euros 60 million of new money in Malta, which will benefit around 850 enterprises over the next 5 years.

The Deputy Prime Minister pledged that if these funds are absorbed early, the Government will take action to top up its contribution to the SME Initiative.

He made this pledge when he was presiding over the signing of a Guarantee Agreement between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banif Bank (Malta) Plc. The agreement was signed by Chief Executive of EIF Pier Luigi Gilibert and Chief Executive Officer of Banif Bank (Malta) Plc Joaquim Silva Pinto, also in the presence of Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg.

Louis Grech said that the Government viewed positively the contribution that the SME Initiative can make to the economy, since it complements the government’s other initiatives in this area. The scheme will provide easier, cheaper and faster access to much needed funds for SMEs.

The Deputy Prime Minister also referred to various multifaceted building blocks that will provide a significant impetus to the Maltese economy over the next five years. In this context, he mentioned the large investment announced by global currency printer Crane Currency that is set to create several hundred new skilled jobs.

Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg said that the financial instrument announced today will address the particular needs of Maltese SMEs, most of which are family businesses or employ a few people, or are self-employed persons. They are important since they account for significant employment and make an important contribution to the economy.

In recent years, banks were cautious in their lending, and this may have put some SMEs at a disadvantage. Against such a background, the contribution of the SME Initiative becomes more significant. Ian Borg said that through this initiative, our country will continue to build on the successes in the use of financial instruments in support of SMEs that were registered in past years.

The Deputy Prime Minister concluded by congratulating Banif Bank (Malta) Plc for being selected by the European Investment Fund as a financial intermediary for the SME Initiative in Malta, and expressed his utmost confidence that this initiative would be a success.

Source: Government of Malta