Minister tells EY conference: more FDI flowed to Malta in pandemic year

35 companies attracted to Malta as foreign direct investment, three companies more when compared to last year 

Economy minister Silvio Schembri
Economy minister Silvio Schembri

Economy minister Silvio Schembri said Malta had attracted at least 35 companies to the island in 2020, three more than 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Schembri told the EU ‘Future Realise’ conference that Malta Enterprise had attracted more FDI when compared to last year, when the number stood at 32, meaning an additional three companies to last year’s number. 

“The companies vary from manufacturing to digital games, artificial intelligence and blockchain. As a nation, we must maintain this momentum by ensuring that we’re providing the ideal ecosystem for operators, as well as stand shoulder to shoulder with local and international businesses who call Malta their home.” 

Schembri said Maltese firms had been resilient and had shown remarkable adaptability. “Key amongst them is our manufacturing industry, wherein some firms even managed to switch their production lines to other products to accommodate new demand. We have some exceptionally good success stories, particularly in the production of PPE and other COVID-related products, particularly in our textiles and plastics sectors.” 

Schembri said Budget 2021 had been a testimonial of Malta’s economic agility in adapting to challenging circumstances. “We have put forward to our nation a budget without taxes, that seeks to incentivise our businesses and safeguard as many jobs as possible. We extended yet again the wage supplement until March 2021, sought to re-stimulate the domestic economy through yet another €100 government voucher initiative, as well as strengthening existing schemes and introducing new ones to help businesses implement their projects.” 

Schembri said the way forward will be to aid businesses in guiding them through the process of digital transformation and seek ways to upskill workforce. 

“We have had four consecutive months during which the unemployment rate fell, to the extent that now, for the first time in our history, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the euro area. We have already managed to get more than a thousand unemployed back into a job. For me, this is a clear sign that our economic recovery is regaining momentum. We must continue on this path which ultimately leads to economic sustainability.”