Corruption a problem for 60% of Maltese companies

Maltese businesses second most likely in Europe to see corruption as a problem in their country

Maltese businesses are the second most likely in Europe to consider corruption as a problem when doing business in their country, according to a European Commission survey.

Over half of the companies see corruption as a problem in nine EU member states, with the highest level being registered in Romania (88%), ahead of Malta (60%) and Greece (58%).

A total of 150 chief executive officers or managing directors of Maltese companies were interviewed for the Eurobarometer survey.

The interviews were undertaken in September and October before the present political crisis.

But in 18 other member states less than half of companies consider corruption as a problem with the lowest scores registered in Denmark (5%), Estonia (9%) and Ireland (11%).

The survey shows that the proportion of companies who regard corruption as a problem is higher in most southern EU member states and lower in most northern EU member states.

Compared to a similar survey held in 2017, the perception that corruption is a problem for Maltese companies in their operations has increased by two points.

Significantly 39% of Maltese companies believe that corruption has prevented them from winning a public tender in the last three years, up from 29% in 2017.

But no Maltese company, which was surveyed, reported being offered a gift or a bribe while 7% refused to answer this question.

Only companies in five other member states reported a higher incidence of corruption in public procurement. 57% of Maltese companies also believe that specifications in public procurement contracts are tailor made for particular companies while 66% believe that there are conflict of interests in the adjudication of bids. Collusive bidding is also considered widespread by 65% of Maltese companies. This was the highest rate in Europe.

Patronage and nepotism is also considered as a problem by 56% of Maltese companies. In this aspect, Maltese companies are the fifth most likely in Europe to consider nepotism a problem after the Romanians (84%), Cyprus (60%), Greece (58%) and Bulgaria (57%).

83% of Maltese companies also think that too close links between business and politics in their country leads to corruption.

Corruption emerged as the second most frequently mentioned facing companies in Malta after lack of adequate procedures to recover debts. 

Moreover 76% of Maltese companies think that corruption is widespread in their country. Although still high the perception that corruption is widespread has deceased by 8 points since 2017.

The percentage of companies who think that bribery and the use of connections is the best way to obtain certain public services has also decreased by 13 points since 2017. Still, 59% of Maltese companies think this is the case.