Fabian Demicoli

850 Enterprises to benefit from launched SME Initiative

This week the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Louis Grech together with Dr Ian Borg launched an SME Initiative that will benefit 850 enterprises over the next 5 years. The initiative was presented to various financial institutions and European Institution such as GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs.

This initiative will combine the different resources of the European Structural and Investment Fund, the EU Horizon 2020 programme, the lending capacity 

of the European Investment Bank.

During the launch the Deputy Prime Minister said that the previous JEREMIE scheme confirmed that when SMEs are offered suitable financing instruments, they will react positively. The tool selected for the initiative is that of an uncapped portfolio guarantee, under which the selected financial intermediaries will benefit from a 75% risk cover on each eligible SME loan.

On this matter, GRTU believes that the JEREMIE scheme was successful mainly due to the additional advantages it offered, primarily more advantageous interest rates and collateral requirements. GRTU feels that these advantages should be even more pronounced this time round as they should reflect the ever increasing efforts of the European Central Bank with rock bottom interest rates and other advantageous conditions that prioritise lending, for increased investment and job creation.

Another positive element in the new scheme is that it will be offered by a number of banks, or at least those that choose to go for it. GRTU had highlighted the fact that JEREMIE was offered by only one bank which was a limitation, not because the bank acting as a financial intermediary did not deliver, but for the reason that SMEs should be free to do business with the bank of their choice. This is also very healthy and GRTU looks forward to seeing most local banks not only sign up, to offer this renewed facility to their clients, but also competing between themselves by offering the most advantageous conditions.

GRTU welcomes this SME initiative and hopes that the Government will continue to undertake schemes and grants that will provide the necessary assistance to our local SMEs.

 

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