The European Commission’s EU Operational Programme for the SME Initiative for the period of 2014-2020 allowed Maltese authorities to secure €15 million in funding for the private sector.
The programme will also guarantee local Maltese businesses an estimated range between €50-70 million worth of credit capital investment to support SME competitiveness. This support package will be funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) using uncapped guarantees.
The Maltese Business Bureau gleamingly commends the Maltese authorities for heeding the European Council’s call to participate in the SME Initiative. The Initiative was developed by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to help member states during financial crises.
MRB President Mario Spiteri said “We are pleased with this development as it shows Government’s commitment towards private enterprise. With the backdrop of a declining investment by the private sector in the past years, particularly due to the uncertainty that surrounded and is still surrounding the euro area and the European economy, the allocation of €15 million for the SME Initiative will encourage and incentivize SMEs to reverse this trend.”
“In a report we published last year on the allocation of EU Structural and Investment Funds in aid of private enterprise, the MBB noted how boosting private investment when the economy is in distress is likely to have a significant and permanent positive impact on the country’s potential growth. For this reason, we have welcomed past initiatives such as JEREMIE, and encouraged Government to invest in similar financial instruments, with the SME Initiative being a case in point,” Mr Spiteri continued.
Kate Middleton’s second pregnancy announcement leaves preparations for her Malta tour hanging in the balance.
Her second pregnancy impeding her Malta tour raised alarms when she announced her absence at a scheduled local UK event because of extreme morning sickness, having medical experts say that the Duchess of Cambridge may not be able to go on her first solo travel following possible health weaknesses during childbearing.
She cancelled her appearance at the opening ceremony of Invictus Games, headed by brother-in-law Prince Harry.
An official statement from Kensington Palace confirmed her absence and also mentioned that her tour to Malta is still under review.
Meanwhile, the official baby announcement had the Royal Family of the United Kingdom delighted. Prince Charles had announced his joy for having a second grandchild and preferred that the child be a girl this time.
However, his preference had a self-proclaimed feminist and British journalist named Angela Neustatter condemn him for his preference, namely his choice of words in the announcement because his remarks are never taken lightly by the world.
Duchess Kate Middleton had been sufferering Hyperemesis Gravidarum with severe vomiting and headaches during the morning. She is currently attended by hospital staff inside the Kensington Palace.
Analysts said that Malta’s nationwide power outage could prove costly to its economy as restaurants, entertainment venues and other amenities and facilities in Malta had lost great revenue during the great blackout of the year.
For many households, it was a matter of thawed out and spoiled food and shorted appliances and other electronic items.
Despite efforts by restaurants to make best of the situation by endorsing their services for a candle lit dinner, many consumers and tourists decided to wait it out by the sea with its cooler breeze. As summer hits Malta, air-conditioning units increase the power usage of households, which should overload the system. But this is not the case.
According to the local news, faulty cable had shorted a large circuit in the grid of Malta, which blew up the Marsa Distribution Centre, which then caused a chain reaction to other power generators. As power went down and was re-routed to other centres, it became clear to the government that Malta’s electricity production outlets were not diversified enough.
Analysts conclude that Malta crucially needs the interconnector link between Malta and Sicily to handle the overload carefully.
Despite the blackout, Maltese authorities ensure the public that the construction of their newest power plant is still on track.
The Mediterranean is but a traveler’s delight because of its lush weather, its beautiful seaside and architecture, and culture. The Mediterranean is also surrounded with beautiful ships, both small and big. The architecture and environment tells a story, and all of these are attracting tourists from the United States, Europe and Asia.
Malta’s traveling potential is probably at its peak in today’s modern world. According to travel experts, the restoration of a direct flight route into Malta from the United States will attract a great number of American tourists into the country. Economic analysts said that Malta should invest in tourism marketing in the United States.
Currently, Malta’s top tourism markets are in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The country attracts more than a million tourists per year. However, most tourists stay longer rather than travel for the beaches and spend more on the local provisions. The target of tourism is to cut the time of the tourists for Malta, as the population grows bigger every year.
The average stay of a tourist is more than 8 days, helping the total tourist expenditure to Malta to reach £1,000 on average.
Malta Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that Malta’s tourism is booming, but the costs of tourism activities and the population of tourists may affect the growth of the industry. Economic efficiency is their prime objective to maximise Malta’s travel central potential in the world.
Economic analysts said that the move will help Malta’s tourism grow. However, tourists may get the impression that Malta is closing of its doors to ‘commoners’, as the plans may prioritise only high-yielding tourists.
I have been investing in properties for so long, and I’ve heard some of my friends talk about certain properties and which ones will definitely bring good profit. These are some of the tips I’ve heard that may put you at high risk. At one point, I followed tip #3 and almost ended up losing a great amount of what I have.
1. Buying Residential Rental Properties
Properties that allow you to let may not be the best investment for you after all. While owning a condominium unit for rent or even a house or home can get you enough personal profits, you would have to deal with tax deductions and poor growth records. This is true for all residential rental properties, including buying shares or the entire hotel or apartment itself.
2. Investing in the United States
Britain has its own problems with the inflating value of properties in London, and yet many investors look to the United States as a good property investment market. If this is true, then the reason is unclear why many US citizens are not purchasing properties in their backyard. Be careful, you may be buying not its worth.
3. High Yields
One time, a friend of mine talked me into buying into properties with high yields. I was tempted because it did promise a great amount of cash flow. But as young as I was, I did not identify the main drivers of growth the properties had. Sure, the cash was good, but today, those properties are gathering dust and not building their growth worth, which makes it troublesome for me.
According to the Swedish Minister for Integration Erik Ullenhag, Malta is the benchmark of how governments should implement LGBTI rights. He said “Ten years ago, Malta and Sweden differed substantially on LGBTI issues and civil rights. Now we’re on the same line of thought.”
Malta had a negative record regarding respect for the rights of LGBTI individuals in the past, according to Maltese Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli. She called for better treatment of LGBTI individuals, and Ullenhag notes her role in the social changes in Malta.
This year, Malta played host for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in Valleta.
Dalli admitted that Malta was “oceans apart” in terms of acknowledging the rights of LGBTI individuals. She was the first representative to the first IDAHO meeting in the Netherlands, which surprised other nations because of Malta’s presence.
Dalli said that Malta may not be the pioneer or the “top of its class” for LGBTI rights, but it believes in the individuals and open-mindedness against prejudice. Other countries highlighted Malta’s efforts to use a more liberal view of LGBTI rights and urged the Civil Liberties Minister to send a message to other conservative governments.
According to Dalli, Malta’s hard work and its recognition by other countries is satisfying. However, she said Malta is not championing the rights of LGBTI, but merely being fair and equal to every person regardless of their sexuality.
According to the Financial Ombudsman, banks, including Lloyds, Barclays and RBS, had been using a regulatory provision called “alternative redress” or “comparative redress” to reduce the amount they repay consumers claiming back PPI refunds. UK media also had their take on the development and claimed that these banks have used the provision since last year, with some even from 2012.
Alternative redress works by allowing banks to assume a consumer with a missing or uncertain PPI policy to be refunded with a regular-premium insurance repayment. However, consumers with single-premium insurance, which are more expensive, were given alternative redress. Former financial expert-now-journalist Cliff D’Arcy said that it was a “scandal out of a scandal” pertaining to mis sold PPI.
PPI is a policy designed to repay loans, mortgages and credit cards in case you get sick, an accident or become unemployed. However, because of its many exceptions, many consumers were unable to make use of the insurance policy. The average regular-premium PPI payout is £2870. Single-premiums cost more.
Observers said that this new scandal may reverse the FCA’s tallied 15% overall reduction of PPI complaints to banks in the second half of 2013.
Consumers are encouraged to look for their PPI complaint information, find if they were given alternative redress and demand a full refund from their banks. Consumers may also contact the Financial Ombudsman in case the banks do not fulfil their responsibilities.
Maltatoday.com has compiled a list of accomplishments and disappointments of the Muscat government in the previous year. The list shows how the government had delivered its goals to the people and how some controversies got in the way of good governance.
According to the Maltatoday writer James Debono, Maltese President Joseph Muscat had delivered on his promises for the Maltese people, including abolishing prescription in corruption cases, signing a Whistleblower Act and the defense of the LGBT community in Malta.
Muscat’s government had also reduced the prices of electricity and introduced free childcare through the effective use of taxes.
However, it also has some shortcomings of its own. Muscat’s government shows signs of inexperience when interacting with the media due to its great number of gaffes. It had also tried to return migrants to Libya despite the action being illegal. The Muscat government had a great number of international embarrassments, such as trying to “sell” the European Citizenship for a high price and untoward insults in social media and the internet.
Overall, the government was well-balanced despite questionable anti-corruption practices regarding the bribery of several Enemalta officials and their amnesty regarding the construction of a bridge. The deliverables and results of proper management had reaped its benefits effectively for Muscat’s Malta.
Malta’s Immigration had said that it not selling European citizenship to anyone who could afford €650,000, which became controversial among many EU countries and the European Commission condemn the proposal. Although the EU and its Commission allowed the sale of the passports, it was heavily detested by many EU countries because it “cheapened” the citizenship, coveted by other countries.
Malta said that it is changing the original plan of selling the passports and are requiring the migrants must have lived in the Island nation for a year.
According to Malta’s official statement “no certificate of naturalisation will be issued unless the applicant provides proof that he/she has resided in Malta for a period of at least 12 months immediately preceding the day of issuing of the certificate of naturalisation.”
The European Commission suggested to Malta after talks that it should also stress the applicant should have a “genuine link” to the country. Employment or relatives are valid links. According to the EC, the ability to pay is innate with any citizen of a country, which makes it “cheap” just to sell the citizenship to anybody.
Malta’s earlier plans of selling passports for access in the EU was part of a plan to attract other citizens from abroad to bring in billions in euros for the country in the next five years, which could help Malta’s financing develop schools, healthcare and jobs.
Malta asks other European countries for support as it tries to manage the increase of irregular immigrants reaching the shores of Italy and the country. According to the Malta independent, data included in the European Refugee Fund Annual Programme approved by the European Commission, the country received 1294 total irregular immigrants in July 2013.
Malta’s first issue had been burden sharing. Malta had taken care of the pressure of migration on its own. Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had also noted in his statement to the EU that Greece and Italy are facing similar problems regarding migration.
In the previous week, Maltese and Italian coastal authorities had rescued 233 migrants with some originating from Pakistan and Africa from an overcrowded and unseaworthy boat.
Malta’s government is asking for the setup of a Mediterranean Task Force to approach the problem in a unified and integral manner. The task force was set up in October in the aftermath of the 300-passenger smuggling boat that sunk near the coast of Italy.
Illegal immigrants and human smugglers see Malta as an easy access point for unauthorized entry into Europe. However, these migrants risk expulsion by both Malta and Italy. Both countries, including Greece, are providing for the needs and welfare of the migrants arriving into the country as they wait for the decision to their expulsion or retainment.