Deutsche Bank Granted Maltese Banking Licence

MEDIA ROOM

German giant Deutsche Bank has been granted a full banking licence by the MFSA and will be expanding its existing office in Malta, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said this afternoon. He said it was up to the bank to decide in which areas it would operate but this was “very good news” for Malta.

He made the announcement during a press conference to review his ministry’s activities during the second year of the legislature.

In his presentation, Mr Fenech stressed the government’s direct assistance to industry to safeguard jobs in tough international economic conditions.

He noted that unemployment growth in Malta was among the lowest in the EU and 7,254 persons started working for the first time last year, including 4,982 full-timers.

Although GDP had declined in the first three quarters of last year, that decline was half the EU average of 4.7 per cent, he pointed out. Because of the international crisis, Malta’s deficit grew to 3.8 per cent of GDP.

Mr Fenech highlighted measures announced in the Budget to help the productive sectors cope with the current situation and gear for a recovery.

He also stressed other benefits given to the public, including tax incentives for mothers to return to work and tax credits to parents of children in private schools. Other benefits were given to ICT students under the My Potential scheme.

He also pointed out that 97 per cent of households would receive financial grants to compensate for the increase in the utility tariffs.

Mr Fenech welcomed the fact that international and local investment was continuing, the biggest having been the decision by aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics.

In the four months since the Budget, there were 15 local companies in the manufacturing sector which had decided to invest, he said. Their total investment was €20 million, and they would employ 100 people.

2,678 new companies were registered last year in the financial services sector.

Power Station

Questioned on the power station extension and the contract awarded to BWSC, Mr Fenech said there was clearly an urgent need to extend the power station. He said he could not comment on the contract because it is under investigation by the Auditor-General, however there were penalties on both sides if the contract was not honoured.

He said that Enemalta has already started oil purchase hedging for 2011 at the same price as today or a slightly lower price, but it was just a dream to expect prices to go down significantly, and the accent was therefore on efficiency.

He said that losses of 25 per cent in generation and unbilled output had been reduced to 11 per cent and would reduced by a further five per cent as more smart meters were installed.