The Malta Development Bank (MDB) and the Malta Employers Association (MEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding strengthening the relationship between the two institutions and allowing the two sides to intensify their collaboration, exchange of information and mutual promotion through their respective fora.
The agreement was signed by MEA’s Director General Joseph Farrugia and MDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer Paul V. Azzopardi on behalf of the Bank’s Chairman, Prof Josef Bonnici.
In particular, the agreement will ensure increased awareness among MEA members of the various schemes available through the MDB which are intended to support business development and growth through advantageous financing rates and reduced collateral requirements and finance costs.
Through the digital tool MEAINDEX, MDB will joining 12 other institutions which are collaborating with the Association on this project. This digital platform is followed by over 38,000 entrepreneur and serves as an effective communication tool between those institutions which form part of the commercial ecosystem and some 56,000 employers which are responsible for some 200,000 jobs in our country.
This relationship assumes stronger relevance in the current scenario where businesses are seeking to balance out their survival needs following the devastating impact of the pandemic, while at the same time chartering their course for the future. The MDB has also sought to ensure that the delicate balance between the two objectives is sought. Following the onset of the health crisis in 2020, it swiftly redirected its support to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences. Over the last 10 months, through the Covid-19 Guarantee Scheme, the MDB has helped in delivering €420 million of critical support, with close to 550 facilities provided to businesses, which together employ more than 30,000 persons. At the same time, the Bank is positioning itself as a driver of economic regeneration by targeting those businesses planning new capital investment projects by providing easier access to finance through the intermediation of private banks.
An essential element of the MDB's work is to continuously monitor and ensure that its portfolio of schemes and instruments mirror the needs of the market they are meant to address. In this context, a stronger relationship with Malta's main body representing employers, will ensure a constant two-way feedback, providing the Bank with an ongoing evaluation, strengthening its role as a go-between the banking sector and the business community.
MDB Deputy CEO Paul V. Azzopardi highlighted the importance of such agreements: “Access to finance is a critical determinant for the development of enterprises, in particular SMEs, which tend to have limited access to capital markets. Through this enhanced relationship with the MEA we will ensure that more entrepreneurs are able to become aware of the financing opportunities available to them. This will strengthen our efforts to support the regeneration of the Maltese economy in the months ahead.”
MEA Director General Joseph Farrugia said: MEA Director General Joseph Farrugia said: “With the signing of this agreement, the MEA, during these challenging times of the pandemic, will continue to help its Members not to give up, but to continue investing and look forward with optimism. We are encouraging our members to plan objective business plans, knowing that where they need financial support, they will receive the backing of the MDB. Our role is to provide the necessary support both to our members as well as to those institutions which are offering schemes and other support measures.
Farrugia also thanked the Chairman, Directors and officials at MDB for the trust shown in the MEA and the MEAIndex digital platform. The MEA is confident that this agreement will yield the desired results and will be another important tool in its efforts to facilitate information to businesses, and in this case, through this agreement with the MDB, to facilitate access to finance even for investment in research and innovation.