There is little morality in business but people are becoming impatient, Malta's Finance Minister cautions

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna talks business morality and the benefits of free trade at the inauguration of the new office of Western Union Business Solutions in Birkirkara

(Left to right) Western Union country manager Jenny Pace, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, WU Vice President Europe Frederic Simon and Director Southern Europe Christian Traversini
(Left to right) Western Union country manager Jenny Pace, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, WU Vice President Europe Frederic Simon and Director Southern Europe Christian Traversini

Edward Scicluna says new EU rules agreed this week put the onus on financial intermediaries to report companies benefitting from aggressive tax planning.

The Finance Minister said taxpayers everywhere were no longer willing to accept that big firms pay no taxes.

“There is little morality in business but… the situation is no longer tenable and this is why we agreed on a new EU directive that puts the onus on financial intermediaries to report situations where companies use schemes not to pay tax anywhere,” Scicluna said.

He was referring to EU draft rules agreed by finance ministers that make it incumbent on financial intermediaries such as tax advisors, accountants and lawyers that design or promote tax planning schemes to report schemes that are considered potentially aggressive.

Scicluna was speaking at the opening of a new office by Western Union Business Solutions, a money trading company, in Birkirkara.

"Everbody in the EU has to compromise but we take exception when the island is portrayed in an unfair way," Scicluna said in a subtle reference to attempts by competing jurisdictions to target Malta's competitive tax system.

The Finance Minister said companies like Western Union formed part of the wide range of companies that form the backbone of Malta’s financial services industry. He extolled the benefits of the EU in facilitating trade and insisted that protectionism threatened jobs.

The Western Union Business Solutions Malta team
The Western Union Business Solutions Malta team

"Trade is like oxygen for Malta and Western Union is one such facilitator in this set up," Scicluna said, praising the company for its growth strategy.

Western Union is one of the world’s leading providers of cross-border business payments and has been in Malta for the past 25 years.

The company increased its staff complement by 25 over the past year, necessitating a bigger office.

The relocation to has enabled the company to pursue efforts to reduce its environmental footprint.

Frederic Simon, regional vice-president of Western Union Business Solutions, said the company valued its employees and strove to provide “an inspiring and safe working environment”

Simon said that since 2012, Western Union offered its services to over 1,000 businesses in Malta.

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