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The Malta Development Bank (MDB) announced that it has provided support to the tune of over half a billion euro in loans since the first scheme was launched back in late 2018.

It said these loans were taken up by close to 650 local businesses, operating across the local economic spectrum to invest in expanding their operations or to access working capital needed to ensure survival throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Micro, small or medium-sized enterprises represent 91 per cent of all businesses assisted.

The loans, which were intermediated through local commercial banks, were made possible through the guarantee schemes offered by the MDB.

Such loans reflect around 12.5 per cent of the overall currently outstanding loans extended by the banking system to non-financial corporations in Malta, “attesting to the fundamental role played by the Bank in supporting economic activity”, MDB said.

Lending to non-financial corporations in Malta expanded by an annual rate of nine per cent during 2020, and,  Without this MDB’s intervention, the bank said such lending to companies would have contracted by 2.5 per cent.

The largest contributor to this impact was the COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme (CGS), and through a Government-backed guarantee of €350 million, the MDB is able to provide a guarantee of 90 per cent on new working capital loans granted by commercial banks to businesses facing liquidity shortfalls as a result of the pandemic.

In this case, the retail sector, and the accommodation and food sector were the major beneficiaries of the guarantees. This scheme is still running and businesses requiring such financing are encouraged to approach one of the nine accredited commercial banks intermediating the scheme.

Other schemes operated by the MDB, include the SME Invest, the Family Business Transfer Facility and the Further Studies Made Affordable Scheme.

“The almost 650 businesses that benefitted from the guarantees made available by the MDB through the different schemes, are responsible for the employment of more than 40,000 employees, equivalent to more than 22 per cent of total private sector employees in Malta.”

As the country seeks to exit the challenges brought by the pandemic, the MDB said it is positioning itself to enable financing for more sustainable, longer-run growth, in line with national and European objectives.

Through its schemes, the MDB intends to facilitate investment in green infrastructure projects, innovation and digitalisation, as well as projects with a social dimension and hence, “will strive to contribute to the achievement of the country’s ambitious targets in various priority areas”.

MDB Chairman Prof Josef Bonnici commented: “the milestone achieved in such a short time frame is testament to the role of the MDB in Malta’s economic fabric, and we are proud of this contribution. Over the past few months, we have been actively working on new financial instruments which will be launched later this year and that will give further impetus to the economy during the post-pandemic recovery phase.

“In addition, we also held consultations with both public and private sector entities in relation to an array of projects, for example, in the area of renewables,  green mobility and waste management solutions. These are areas which both the national Government and the European Union are pushing and which we hope to see come into fruition in the months ahead”.

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