It takes Maltese entrepreneurs no fewer than 26 days to complete all the needed legal steps required to start a business, data aggregated by the University of Oxford developed Our World in Data shows. This places Malta just one place before last in the whole of EU, with ony Poland doing worse, at 37 days required to start a business.
The average for the whole EU in contrast is 10.36 days, with most Western European countries having times in the single digits. It takes just 3 days to start a business in Denmark, 3 and a half in France, 4 in Belgium and the Netherlands, 4 and a half in the United Kingdom and less than a week in Italy.
Malta also trails most countries on a global level, with the world average being 20.92 days. Two of the four Asian Tigers, Hong Kong and Singapore, lead the scale, with people taking one a half and two and a half days respectively to start a business there.
Gulf states too make a strong showing, with businesses in the UAE taking just 8.2 days to get started and those in Saudi Arabia 16.2 days.
The worst performer, at more than half a year (230 days), is Venezuela.
The “less red tape” pledge – did Labour do it?
Back in 2012, Joseph Muscat had promised the electorate that his government would work to reduce bureaucratic ‘red tape’ should he be elected. Since Our World in Data’s numbers go back until since 2011, we can quantify this pledge objectively.
Plotting the data, it becomes apparent that some reduction in the time required to start a business has taken place, with the process requiring 38.5 days in 2011 – a full 12.5 more than now.
Despite the improvement however, the local situation is still tricky. Earlier this year, redditor bezzleford visualised the World Bank Group’s 2017 “ease of doing business” index: a scale based on 10 subscales that include ease to getting aspects like credit, property and electricity, and legal aspects such as procedures for insolvency and contracts.
Malta, along with Greece and Macedonia, were the EU’s worst performers.
Established businesses however appear to be doing well, with Malta’s GDP growth rate in the third quarter of 2017 standing at 7.7%, well above the EU28’s 2.6% average.