Silvio Schembri Malta FDI Office / DOI Photo Clodagh O'Neil

The National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office (NFDIS) was inaugurated by the Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri, Chairperson of the NFDIS Mario Galea, and Director General for Trade of the European Commission Damien Levie. 

It is intended to serve as a tool to ensure good governance by protecting Malta’s investment interests. Government said the office will ensure good governance and that investment attracted to our country from outside of the European Union is secure. 

Often, when foreign investors seek to launch a project in Malta, some funding is matched by Malta Enterprise, while it would also be in the Government’s interests to ensure that any future jobs created by such investments lead to secure and sustainable employment.

Minister Silvio Schembri remarked that the office screens investment of strategic importance in sectors such as energy, transport, health, artificial intelligence, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

He described how through the initiative, information can be exchanged, facilitating a transfer of knowledge and build-up of intelligence.

“The Malta Office will be busy screening and evaluating project proposals from investments being registered here and providing its observations, while at the same time giving its input on investments realised in EU countries”, said the minister.

“You are welcome in Malta. We will help you get established and succeed. We will carry out checks, but we won’t tie you up in bureaucracy”, continued the Minister, assuring investors. He went on to say that in cases where the activities of an investor do not require screening or further evaluation, the Office can give the green light within days. This has been the case in almost 98 per cent of all applications.

Statistical information outlined that in the past year NFDIS has:

  • Evaluated more than a thousand documents of investments being made in Malta.
  • Of these, 15 local investment proposals were circulated for EU and member state reviews through the screening mechanism. On all projects, the recommendations of the Malta office were upheld.
  • Fewer than 10 local investment proposals were either aborted or failed. They did not meet the required due diligence or fell by the wayside for other reasons.
  • The Office also reviewed more than 300 investment proposals occurring in other EU jurisdictions, such as France, Italy, Austria and Germany.

Mr Galea, Chairperson of NFDIS Malta, pointed out that nowadays the competitiveness of a country is measured by its level of good governance, transparency and on how easy it is to conduct business in the country. He concluded by referring to the efficiency of the process, noting that the legislation and the screening mechanism provide clear deadlines for responses. 

With Malta’s recent position under increased scrutiny by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), more commonly known as the grey list, and the ensuing increased regulatory and compliance burdens – especially when sending money in and out of the country, Government will want to ensure all action is taken to maintain the country’s competitiveness as a jurisdiction of choice to do business.

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