Malta is one of the most successful countries in Europe, achieving new heights at a global level, but we want more because however successful Malta is, it is nowhere near its full potential. We firmly believe that economically, Malta can be to the Mediterranean what Dubai is to the Gulf, what Singapore is to Asia. The Citizenship by Investment programme, through which we want to attract best talent, is one of the ways in which this potential can be achieved.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated this when delivering a keynote address at the 8th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Singapore.
Joseph Muscat said Malta’s economy is out-performing the European one, creating jobs, attracting record-breaking tourist number, with fledging education and health sectors. We have a strong manufacturing base, a world class financial services centre, Europe’s top remote gaming base, a country not only not charging its tertiary students for education but paying them to encourage further specialisation, offering free childcare services, and consistently cutting direct taxation.
The Prime Minister said that Moody’s is only the latest in a series of credit rating agencies to confirm the resilience of our economy.
“Moody’s gave an enviable account of Malta’s economy, describing it as “diversified” and “healthy”. This assessment came at the back of an announcement by the European Central Bank that all Malta-based banks had successfully passed its Asset Quality Review stress test. Indeed, Malta is one of eight Eurozone countries whose banks have all withstood this tough exercise, thus confirming the solidity of our system,” said Dr Muscat.
He said that the second quarter of 2014, Eurostat informed us that Malta had the highest rate of economic growth of all European Union member states. Over the last twelve months, our real growth rate averaged 3%, six times as much that of the Euro area.
Employment growth in Malta has outstripped by far that in the rest of Europe. In the second quarter of 2014, according to Eurostat, employment grew by 2.6% over the same period in the previous year, while the unemployment rate is at an all-time low.
Historically Malta had higher inflation than the rest of Europe, with the rate of inflation being 0.5 percentage points higher, on average, than the EU average. However in recent months, inflation has converged to the EU average. The decline does not reflect a slowdown in economic activity and there are no fears of deflation in Malta.
Malta managed to cut its deficit to GDP ratio to 2.8% last year, from 3.3% in 2013. This was done despite that we cut income tax rates and increased government investment. We are charting a different path to that in the rest of Europe, a path founded on our belief that the best way forward is to give incentives to people to create jobs and new activity and to support private industry with adequate infrastructure and a well-educated workforce. The results are clear: this strategy works, said the Prime Minister.
Dr Muscat said that there are three reasons why we believe Malta has much more potential. He identified human capital, the geo-strategic position and administrative agility.
“We have great ambitions for our country, and we want the very best candidates to undergo a world class due diligence process and join us. Why are we being so strict? Simply put, the people we want to attract are as concerned with their application as they are with that of the person next in line. The people we want to attract have worked hard for their reputation, as much as our country did, and we both want to be associated only with those people who have a similarly good reputation,” said the Prime Minister.
Dr Muscat said that there will be others who will try to imitate us. We are not concerned with that and actually think that imitation is a form of flattery. To be successful, one should not aspire to be alone but rather to be the best.
“So, if you are after the cheapest route to citizenship, Malta is not for you. If you are after flimsy due diligence, Malta is not for you. If you are after a programme that allows in all and sundry, Malta is not for you. But if you are after the best, share our vision, and want to join the highest end talent programme in the world, then Malta and our premium Citizenship for Investment programme are for you,” said the Prime Minister.