Supply chain shocks and escalating shipping prices are leading many local businesses to stockpile imported items, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli has acknowledged.

Dalli said that many local operators were resorting to bulk purchases of items from abroad, rather than importing using the just-in-time supply methods they previously used.

The shift has meant that many businesses are spending more money on warehousing space to store stockpiled items.

To help with those costs, the government intends to make more businesses eligible for rent subsidy aid that was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dalli said on Saturday.

The proposal was first made by the Malta Chamber of SMEs and announced during the Budget 2022 speech on Monday.

Eligible businesses can receive up to €25,000 per year for three years, to help them cover the costs of industrial space. It is currently open to businesses in the manufacturing and machine repair sectors.

Dalli did not provide further details about plans to extend the scheme to other businesses. A ministry spokesperson said further information would be provided in due course.

The minister used her press conference on Saturday to provide a run-through of Budget 2022 measures related to her ministerial portfolio.

Among those measures are Malta Enterprise help for private businesses convert their vehicle fleets to electric ones, adding more than 1,000 electric vehicle charging points and offering start-up funding aid of up to €1.2 million.

Carbon fund to green Malta's economy

Maltese companies that currently invest in green projects abroad as a way of offsetting their emissions will soon be able to do so locally instead, the minister said. 

That would be possible once the government launched its own carbon credit fund for local business owners.

The fund will allow companies to invest in local green projects, with that investment converted to carbon credits. Companies will then be able to use their credits to offset emissions generated by their economic activity.

Dalli did not provide further details about the fund.

The minister emphasised the need to shift Malta’s economy onto a greener footing, but said that business owners should be incentivised, rather than punished, for making that switch.

One way of doing that, she said, would be to offer incentives for investing in more sustainable businesses. Local business owners, she advised, should ramp up their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting data, to make it easy for public investors to identify greener local businesses.  

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