Putting the private into the public

One of the key terms in the finance minister’s second budget speech is public private partnerships and the government creating a new company to identify such initiatives.

In the coming months, Project Malta will launch a number of projects in health, tourism and sports.

Public private sandy beaches

Among others, Project Malta will oversee the extension or creation of sandy beaches, including the area known as Taht iz-Ziemel in Valletta, the area adjacent to the reverse osmosis plant in Pembroke and the Fra Ben point in Bugibba.

Floating casinos

Cruise liners will be allowed to open their casinos if the ships are staying in Malta overnight. Operators will however need a special licence, which will be waived if the ships berth in Gozo. Local punters should not get carried away – the casinos will be open only to passengers on board the ships.

Conventions Malta

A foundation will promote Malta as a destination for conventions while the government announced a reform in the VAT refund system for tourists to increase its revenue.

Seed Capital

The government is in the process of launching an initiative to shift the access to financing for SMEs from traditional banking to fiscal incentives and venture capital funds. A seed investment programme will allow private investors to receive a tax credit equivalent to the share capital invested in a start-up. This credit will be capped at €250,000.

Mediterranean Film Studios

The government intends to breathe new life in the film studios in Rinella, home to the famous water tanks used in a number of Hollywood blockbusters. Following a protracted legal battle which saw the courts uphold an eviction order by the Lands Department against Mediterranean Film Studios, the government intends to launch an international expression of interest for the management of the forsaken facilities. 

Gaming

A number of reforms in the gaming industry will see the Lotteries and Gaming Authority replaced by the Malta Gaming Authority and the creation of a Gaming Academy. Thirdly, the government will create Gaming Malta, a foundation entrusted with promoting Malta as a centre of excellence.

Space invaders

In another first, the Labour administration is looking at exploiting the commercial potential of the two satellite spaces allocated to Malta by the International Telecommunications Union. 

Scicluna said the government is seeking strategic partnerships to “place Malta on the global satellite map.”

Wi-Fi State

The Malta Communications Authority will be looking at striking partnerships with the private sector to increase the current 191 public Wi-Fi hotspots by 60%.

UN pensions programme

Following the relative success of the citizenship and global residence programmes, the government is looking at creating a new programme aimed at attracting retired United Nations officials to Malta.

The programme would place Malta at the forefront of this niche market alongside Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, the UK and Singapore in attracting rich individuals.

Real Estate white paper

Scicluna announced the launch of a white paper which would regulate the real estate sector.

Islamic Banking

Following talks with international and national banking experts, the government is looking at creating an Islamic Banking sector. In 2015, new legislation will pave the way for the introduction of a sector which by 2013 was worth some $1.7 trillion internationally. 

Trade Malta

Projects Malta together with Malta Enterprise will create Trade Malta Ltd, which is intended to propel Maltese companies in the international markets.

Centralising enforcement 

The government is looking at integrating enforcement carried out by various authorities such as MEPA, ETC, MTA and OHSA into one single agency. A white paper will be launched with the aim of reducing bureaucracy and safeguarding jobs.

More in Budget 2015