Malta has dramatically lost its attractiveness among international investors since 2016, with the sharpest dip taking place over the past year, according to a new study by EY.
One in four business leaders surveyed (25%) said Malta was unattractive for investment, a worrying spike from 15% in 2019 and just 5% in 2015.
In Malta’s lowest rating ever recorded, only 62% of business leaders questioned in the Attractiveness Survey said the island was attractive, down from 87% just four years ago and 77% last year.
And whereas in the past Malta’s “stable political and regulatory environment” was the island’s second best selling factor, today it is the country’s least attractive element.
“This result reflects the sentiments shared by many FDI investors on the need to tackle governance and reputational issues. A forthcoming Moneyval evaluation also concerned many investors,” EY said in its press release.
Malta’s most attractive element is its corporate taxation, something that is increasingly under pressure at EU level.
This year, EY’s event is being held virtually over four days, under the theme Future Realised.
The Attractiveness Survey, which is in its 16th edition, is conducted among companies which qualify as Foreign Direct Investment.
Investors ranked the need to improve the country’s reputation and brand as the island’s number one priority to remain globally competitive.
Meanwhile, 80% said they expect their company to still be present in Malta in 10 years’ time, the same as 2019, while the number who do not increased by 6%.
Prior to COVID, 53% of companies surveyed had plans to expand their operations in Malta over the following year. However, following the outbreak, only two-thirds expected to see them through across this period, while 15% did not and 19% were unsure.
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