PwC Malta’s Academy launches the second edition of its ESG Programme

PwC Malta’s Academy is launching the second edition of its Comprehensive Environmental, Social and
Corporate Governance (ESG) Programme starting in May 2024.

With ESG rapidly gaining momentum and climbing to the top of the agenda of various organisations, it
is crucial for businesses to upskill their teams in matters related to sustainability, particularly the fast
evolving regulatory space. In doing so, they will be able to better understand and respond to some of
the most pressing global challenges.

As a result, organisations are beginning to understand how traditional business strategies need to
evolve to incorporate key sustainability matters, from emissions and energy, to data and diversity. The
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will be a key driver of change as large organisations will
now need to report on their sustainability impacts and present forward looking plans on how they’ll be
addressing these key matters.

Our Comprehensive ESG Programme consists of 9 face-to-face sessions with a total of 23 CPE hours.
The course is divided in 3 bundles and gives participants the opportunity to upskill themselves on
various sustainability topics. This programme is targeted towards individuals from all types of
organisations that have a keen interest in upskilling themselves or their employees when it comes to

The Programme will be led by Subject Matter Experts from PwC who bring with them extensive
experience on the subject. The course will cover the core pillars, being Environmental (E), Social (S)
and Corporate Governance (G), and more advanced topics like CSRD, taxation, strategy, business
transformation and the technology aspects linked to ESG. A final workshop will put all the learning
into practice.

PwC’s Academy is also offering several online self-paced eLearns on ESG, and the CFA Certificate in
ESG Investing, for those interested in gaining an internationally recognised certification.
If you would like to find out more about PwC Malta’s Academy course or register your spot, visit this

Launch of the 2024 Post-Doc Fellowship Scheme

Following the success of the scheme that was launched for the first time in 2022, in collaboration between the University of Malta and The Malta Chamber, applications have been reopened for this year. Through this scheme, doctoral graduate students will be given the opportunity to join local businesses for research purposes. Therefore, these students will have the chance to put what they have learned into practice with the aim of helping the local industry while gaining the necessary experience.

In her opening speech, Dr Marthese Portelli, The Malta Chamber CEO, claimed that academics should recognize that the local industry provides good prospects for research that will help our economy grow further, and business should recognize the potential of local researchers and collaborates with them to improve its products and services. “During the last few years, The Malta Chamber has always emphasized the importance of investment in research and innovation,” said Dr Portelli.

The Malta Chamber repeatedly insisted that the country’s annual budget allocation for research and innovation should gradually increase year by year. The Malta Chamber requested that the expenditure on R&I should rise to 3% of the country’s GDP and that the tax rebate for those who invest in R&I should rise to 200%.

Parliamentary Secretary Keith Azzopardi Tanti stressed the importance of collaborations of this type. “The investment in education is bearing the necessary fruit and we are re-opening the applications for this scheme, because it is beneficial both for the students who obtained their doctorates and also for the local market,” he stated.

He also claimed that through the implementation of this scheme, the Government is also giving an incentive to the local industry so that, together with local researchers, they expand their products and services, thus increasing competitiveness not only in the local market, but also in the international market.

For his part, the Rector of the University of Malta, Prof. Alfred Vella, spoke about the importance of research as a means of helping economic enterprises continue to strengthen. He mentioned that this very week, 66 students with a doctorate will graduate from the University, some of whom will be able to participate in this scheme as ‘post-docs’ and thus he wishes success to this collaboration towards the -University and industry for the common good.

The Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme is open to students who have just obtained their doctorate and wish to collaborate with local businesses, as well as to those businesses who already employ local researchers and wish to carry out a research project. Each selected project will be financed with a maximum of €68,000 per year for two years for each researcher, which can be extended for another year.

For more information, kindly follow this link or send an email to
Applications are open till the 30th of April 2024.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme 2024

The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR), in consultation with the University of Malta (UM), The Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth, Research and Innovation (PSYRI) and The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry (MCCEI), is pleased to relaunch the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme to make available a number of post-doctoral research positions at the UM in collaboration with economic partners. Through the scheme, MEYR will promote Research and Innovation Projects between the UM and economic partners, aimed at providing a positive and constructive impact to the economic players and the Maltese economy.

The scheme shall provide financial support for Post-Doctoral Fellowships to enable economic operators and the UM to carry out joint Research and Innovation Projects, with an emphasis on, but not exclusive to, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Malta Chamber and MAPFRE Malta sign Bronze Collaboration Agreement

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry proudly announces the signing of a Bronze Collaboration Agreement with MAPFRE Middlesea plc and MAPFRE MSV Life, both leading insurance companies in Malta. This strategic alliance marks a significant milestone in advancing sustainable pension initiatives within Malta’s business community.

Under this collaboration, MAPFRE Malta will join forces with The Malta Chamber’s esteemed Pensions Committee, leveraging its expertise and resources to drive impactful change in the realm of sustainable pensions. The partnership will see MAPFRE Malta playing a pivotal role in various advocacy and educational initiatives aimed at fostering understanding and adoption of sustainable pension practices.
Through this collaboration, The Malta Chamber and MAPFRE are poised to catalyse meaningful change in the landscape of pension provision, ensuring a more secure and prosperous future for businesses and individuals alike.

Commenting on the partnership, The Malta Chamber President, Chris Vassallo Cesareo, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted to join forces with MAPFRE Malta in our shared mission to promote sustainable pension practices. This collaboration underscores our commitment to driving positive change and fostering a culture of financial security and responsibility within Malta’s business community.”

Likewise, Javier Moreno Gonzales, MAPFRE Middlesea President and CEO, affirmed the company’s dedication to this endeavor, stating, “we are proud to collaborate with The Malta Chamber as this will enable us to actively engage with our local community through synergies and connecting with key influencers in our industry. By combining our expertise and resources, we aim to empower businesses and individuals to make informed decisions for their long-term financial well-being.”

The agreement was signed by Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Nick Xuereb and Dr Marthese Portelli, President, Deputy President and CEO of The Malta Chamber respectively, and Javier Moreno Gonzales, President and CEO of MAPFRE Middlesea plc and Etienne Sciberras, CEO of MAPFRE MSV Life.

Business representatives call on differentiating between late payments and long payment terms in discussion on EU Late Payments Regulation

This week, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) held a business session in which it presented and discussed with Maltese businesses the European Commission’s proposal for a Late Payment Regulation.

The proposal, which is still being negotiated at EU level, aims to update the current Directive to improve the on-time payment culture through more payment discipline in businesses transactions across the EU, which the Commission says would improve cashflow and potentially save businesses from insolvency, especially SMEs.

Introducing the topic, MBB President Alison Mizzi stated that reliable payment streams are key to a competitive economy and highlighted that deferred or late payments affect businesses across all sectors, with SMEs bearing a disproportionate burden. She acknowledged that late payments cause administrative and financial burdens, which are particularly acute when businesses are in different EU countries and noted that cross-border trade is inevitably impacted.

The Malta Chamber Deputy President Nick Xuereb asserted that although he agrees with a robust and fair system that supports the interest of creditors, late payments tend to increase in times of crisis and economic turmoil. The inability to meet overheads and operating costs by most SMEs is a circumstance that needs to be acknowledged. He therefore cautioned for proportionality in such circumstances. Mr. Xuereb also added that while payment delays have a significant impact on business liquidity and cashflow, the need to teach how to deploy good credit management practices to secure better cashflow and always maintain good customer relationships, should be given much importance.

MHRA’s Operations Executive, Tonio Cini, emphasized the significance of upholding contractual freedom in business-to-business transactions. He noted that a one-size fits all approach to tackling late payments may not be effective, highlighting the diverse challenges faced by hospitality SMEs during various business phases. He expressed concerns over the potential negative impact on these businesses if they are required to adhere strictly to the 30-day maximum payment terms, citing liquidity shortages and increased administrative burdens as key factors. Despite this, he recognized the importance of implementing stricter discipline and consequences for companies that fail to comply with agreed-upon payment terms. He suggested that measures such as interest on late payments could discourage abuse of financing terms.

Josef Busuttil, Director General of the Malta Association for Credit Management (MACM) noted that it is essential to differentiate between credit terms and late payments. In his view, the proposed Regulation has fundamental gaps as it is only tackling the symptoms of late payments rather than solving the problem. Mr. Busuttil explained how several non-perishable products have a long business cycle and by nature require more than a 30-day credit term timeframe. Where a good relationship between two trading companies exists, creditors would have no problem granting longer payment terms. This would not be the case where debtors repeatedly default on their payments. Companies are best placed to evaluate the risk of their business and make decisions that suit their interests and of their business clients.
Brian Grima, Senior Manager at the Ministry for the Economy, Enterprise, and Strategic Projects agreed that a stronger Directive would have been a better choice of legal instrument than a Regulation to avoid a one-size-fits all approach, which does not reflect the different business environments in all EU member states and risks being counterproductive. He confirmed that the Maltese Government understands the importance of freedom of contract for the Maltese business community and has advocated this in the EU Council. On the issue of enforcement, he mentioned that the remit of any future enforcement authority established by the Regulation must also reflect what is rightly needed in each country.

The business session was moderated by MBB EU Affairs Manager and Head of Brussels Operations Daniel Debono, who also gave a presentation outlining the key provisions of the EU proposal.

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory of The Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

The business session can be viewed from the following link.

Forging Economic Bridges: Inaugural Meeting of Maltese-Turkish Business Council Marks Strategic Collaboration

The newly appointed Maltese-Turkish Business Council, endorsed by The Malta Chamber’s Council, recently convened its inaugural meeting. Its primary aim is to facilitate business opportunities between Malta and Turkey for its members.

The members of this council include:
– Andrei Grech from AG Installations
– Chiara Scerri Herrera from Pharma MT
– Etienne Scerri from Silvercraft Products Ltd
– Ezgi Harmanci from Harmancı and Partners
– Fersun Onen from CMA CGM Malta Agency
– Herald Bonnici from HB Advisory
– Kor Kurt Akin from ESC Group
– Matthew Napier from Eurobridge
– Simon Caruana from Mekanika

During the meeting, Mr Bonnici was appointed as the Chair of the Business Council, with Ms Harmanci serving as Deputy Chair.

TradeMalta assists local companies to showcase their culinary delights at Gulfood 2024

TradeMalta is once again coordinating the Malta Pavilion at Gulfood 2024 taking place between 19 – 23 February.

Now, at its 29th edition, Gulfood continues to serve as the top platform for uniting food and beverage communities globally. With over 5,500 companies hailing from more than 190 countries, Gulfood remains the largest food expo in the Middle East, providing unparalleled opportunities for industry players.

This year, Malta is showcasing its capabilities with the participation of 11 food and beverage companies, each showcasing diverse range of culinary delights including beer, soft drinks and energy drinks, snacks, biscuits, crackers, ready-made dishes, cakes, sauces and condiments, dips and powder mixes for cakes and custard.

Anton Buttigieg, CEO of TradeMalta commented,”TradeMalta is delighted to lead the coordination of the Malta Pavilion at Gulfood, as this underscores Malta’s commitment to fostering international trade and showcasing the excellence of our food and beverage sector on a global stage. We look forward to continuing advancing Malta’s presence in the global marketplace by assisting Maltese companies to engaging with industry peers and forging new partnerships.”

Gulfood presents an excellent opportunity for Maltese companies in the food and beverage sector to network with industry leaders, explore emerging trends, and expand their reach into new markets. By participating in this event, Malta reaffirms its position as a hub of culinary innovation and excellence, well positioned for international success. Visitors are invited to explore the Malta Pavilion, located at the Dubai Trade Arena between the 19 – 23 February, to experience firsthand the exceptional quality and innovation that Maltese producers bring to the table.

For more information about the services offered by TradeMalta visit or call on Tel: 22472400.

Need for a balanced approach in addressing late payments in the EU


Towards the end of last year, the European Commission published a revision of the Late Payments Directive that is now being proposed as a Regulation, which would result in a more harmonized application across the EU. The proposal, which is a key component of the SME Relief Package, has stirred controversy due to the stringent requirement of enforcing a mandatory maximum payment term of 30 days in business to business (B2B) and government to business (G2B) transactions.

While late payments are a problem and one should strive to achieve an on-time payment culture, it is important to firstly differentiate between late payments and longer payment terms; secondly, it is important to understand how the EU could intervene in a free-market economy through the imposition of mandatory fixed payment term limits on businesses conducting commercial transactions.  This constrains the liberty of private companies negotiating their own payment terms, which would thus restrict their ‘freedom of contract’.

In terms of addressing late payments a distinction should be made between Government procured goods and services, and B2B transactions.  this In the case of the former, the proposed requirement in the Regulation to limit payment terms up to 30 days is a commendable initiative, as Governments and public authorities are normally less constrained with liquidity issues compared to private companies. Therefore, Governments should lead by example and effect payments in the shortest time possible.  On the other hand, in the case of B2B transactions, while swift payments naturally help businesses run more smoothly throughout supply chains, there are diverse business realities that vary by sector, size, lifecycle, and the international economic climate, among others, that need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, in the case of the private sector, the issue of late payments cannot be resolved through this new requirement, which is considered as a one-size fits all measure.

On the other hand, long payment terms are an accepted practice and essential in certain economic sectors, for example where companies operate with low margins or when cash flow depends on the selling of supplied goods. In such cases, longer payment terms can provide companies, particularly SMEs, more time to make sales and pay their suppliers over time, especially if they do not have the resources to buy stock upfront. Although the possibility of requesting financing from credit institutions exists, this may not be an option for all companies depending on their different circumstances, and during times of increasing interest rates this adds the pressure on profit margins significantly.

There are also cases of other forms of flexibility that exist in some value chains, such as with upstream suppliers agreeing to longer payment terms, particularly with businesses with whom they have a long-standing, trust-based business relationship. SMEs also benefit from this type of flexibility.

The above is not meant in any way to dilute the issue of late payments, which exists, and is of great concern for many companies. Abuse should be addressed, particularly if certain companies use their size as leverage to coerce SME into extending payment terms. To this effect, there should be more efficient redress instruments for companies, including strong alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

One should also look at improving discipline in commercial transactions and in fact the proposal for a Late Payments Regulation puts forward several solutions to this effect. For instance, that the procedure of verification or acceptance of goods or services should not exceed 30 days from the date of the reception of the goods or services is a good step towards the behavioural change for a culture of prompt payments.

Another important form of discipline is the application of 8% interest rate on late payments and a fixed Eur50 administrative fee towards recovery costs. Businesses ought to have a right to negotiate payment terms according to their needs, but once agreed, the terms should be respected. The application of interest rate and administrative fee therefore serve as a deterrent for companies from abusing their position and especially from attempting to use late payment as a form of cheap financing. On this point however, while the proposal forbids creditors from waiving their right to obtain interest and recovery cost, there could be challenges for this to be applied or enforced in practice, particularly for SMEs. For this reason, competent authorities should be provided with sufficient resources enabling them to investigate and apply sanctions where it results that abuse is taking place.

To conclude, an on-time payment culture is essential both for individual companies and the economy in general. One should strive towards creating the right economic conditions where businesses thrive and are able to make payments when they are due. At the same time, that longer payments terms also have an economic purpose ought to be recognised, and where this does not result in abuse, it is imperative to preserve room for contractual flexibility to accommodate specific circumstances. This was also a key request by the European Parliament, where it called on ensuring a balanced approach that preserves the freedom of contracts when addressing payment delays, in its resolution on the state of the SME Union published in July last year.

As the Regulation is now being negotiated in the EU Council and the European Parliament, one hopes that the right balance is found between improving payment discipline, respect for the ‘freedom of contract’, and allowing flexible solutions that businesses may require in specific circumstances.

Alison Mizzi is the President of the Malta Business Bureau. The MBB is the EU business advisory organization of The Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

This article was first published on the Sunday Times of Malta on 18th February 2024.

BOV launches revamped cutting-edge website – bank of values: Faster, easier, Safer! Valid reasons to fall in love with our new website, a portal designed to enhance the customer experience

Bank of Valletta has launched a newly designed website, accessible on, which offers an enhanced customer experience built around the preferences of the modern savvy online user. The revamped site offers a comprehensive platform that puts the Bank’s revamped digital identity to the foreforent with a fresh and clean design that minimises distractions and allows the user to foucs on what is most important. With a fully responsive interface, the revamped site will offer a seamless customer experience across all devices, including mobiles, laptops, and tablets.

Other notable characteristics of the new website include intuitive navigation, by which a user may effortlessly explore the site through a navigation system that prioritises user preferences, an enhanced customer support function, through which users can experience fast and easy ways of connecting with the Bank for assistance, as well as a fully-fledged learning hub that equips users with all the knowledge required to make informed banking decisions.

Kenneth Farrugia, CEO at Bank of Valletta spoke about this important milestone. “I am highly pleased to announce the launch of our newly revamped website. After months of dedicated research and meticulous development, we are now offering our customers an enhanced digital experience, empowering users to interact digitally with the Bank from anywhere, through any device both desktop and mobile. This initiative is yet another example of how we are continually putting the customer at the centre of everything we do, as this new digital experience is crafted exclusively with customer feedback and input. With close to eight million visits to our website last year, I now look forward to welcoming even more users to our enhanced digital banking experience.”

In his remarks on the launch, Theodoros Papadopoulos, Chief Digital Officer of Bank of Valletta, emphasized the pivotal role of customer-centricity in the creation of their new website. “At BOV, we redefine customer service, focusing on creating memorable experiences. The launch of the new is a testament to this, offering a design that’s not only clean and fresh, but also deeply rooted in user feedback and interaction. Our commitment to a customer-first approach is evident in every aspect of the site – from its intuitive navigation, tailored to be user-friendly across all devices, to the inclusion of a learning hub. We have prioritized empowering our users with the tools and knowledge for smarter banking decisions. This website, with its advanced digital banking technologies, represents more than just an online presence – it’s a collaborative achievement, co-designed with our valued customers. It’s a secure, state-of-the-art platform, that reflects our dedication to not just meet, but exceed user expectations. This launch marks a significant milestone, celebrating our ongoing journey towards customer-focused digital innovation.” – Your smart digital love affair begins