Malta to Become Sharia Compliant

MEDIA ROOM

Small businesses with a share capital of under €10,000 will benefit from reduced registration rates and annual fees come January 1, the Malta Financial Services Authority said yesterday.

All larger businesses will be making up the difference by forking out more than they are doing before, to ensure that the MFSA rakes in the same amount annually.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said the aim was to support small enterprises during the difficult 2009 period and encourage small operators to become limited liability companies so that they could benefit more from EU funds.

When compared to the profits of some large businesses, the increases were negligible and would, therefore, not translate into higher costs for the consumers.

Mr Fenech added that in line with the Lisbon Strategy, the new rates will see larger businesses paying more as they are more burdensome for the MFSA’s administration.

The MFSA will also be promoting its online services and giving further reductions to all companies that pay electronically.

Companies with a share capital of under €1,500 will see a reduction of 48 per cent if they pay via the MFSA’s online services. The lowest fee will therefore drop from €163 to €85.

Those with a share capital of between €10,000 and €50,000 will see an increase of seven per cent if they pay manually and a decrease of eight per cent if they pay online.

But all others with a share capital of €50,000 and over will see increases of between four and 43 per cent (23 per cent if they pay online).

New companies

New companies with a share capital of under €1,500 will also benefit from cheaper registration fees.

The MFSA revises its rates every five years following consultation with various businesses. The exact figures will be published in a legal notice in the coming days.

Mr Fenech said the past year was very successful for the MFSA because it confirmed the importance of strong regulation in Malta.

He urged students to take up courses in accountancy and financial services because these provide “good and well-paid jobs”, equal in value to those of the ICT sector. Many times, the country finds itself lacking certain expertise and has to “import” people.

He added that, in light of the recent global financial crisis, Malta became a safe haven that was praised by numerous reports including the World Economic Forum and the International Monetary Fund.

Malta required no bailouts and had recently continued to grow with double-taxation treaties with Switzerland, Ireland, the United States and Singapore.

Next year, the government will focus on a global outreach programme to encourage more foreign investment and will also become Sharia compliant so as to attract Muslim investors.