Central Bank of Malta Issues Directive on the Use of Cheques and Bank Drafts

On the 7th of July 2021, the Central Bank of Malta issued Directive No. 19 on the use of cheques and bank drafts, the provisions of which shall become effective as of the 1st of January 2022. The Directive’s aims are parallel to Malta’s action plan to curb money laundering and financial crime and shall incentivise a shift towards less paper-based modes of payment.

The main points and changes brought about by the Directive are the following:

  • Each cheque issued must include the date of issue, the sum to be paid in words and numbers as well as the details of the payee and the signature of the person issuing the cheque.
  • All cheques shall have a validity of 6 months from the date of issue.
  • Instruments with the words ‘Or Order’, which allow for the paper-based instrument to be endorsed by third parties shall be phased out and will be discontinued from the date of coming into force of the Directive.
  • Cheques may only be issued for amounts exceeding €20.
  • When cheques are issued in favour of natural persons, banks and payment service providers may only pay up to €5000 in cash. Should the indicated amount on the cheque exceed €5000, then this shall only be transferred directly to the payee’s account. In the case of companies, all cheque amounts shall always be transferred directly to the payee’s account.
  • It is emphasised that the bank or payment service provider may decline to cash cheques that are issued by same payer to the same payee over a short period of time if these cheques form part of the same obligation.
  • If the payee does not hold an account with the bank or payment service provider, then the latter institutions will only pay an amount up till €5000 in cash.
  • Banks have the power to suspend cheque facilities to a drawer if, in the span of 12 months, 6 cheques presented were unable to be fulfilled either due to lack of funds or because the cheque did not contain all the information mentioned in the Directive. This suspension shall be for a minimum of 24 months from the effective date of suspension. Penalties will also apply in this case. 

Should any further information be required, please do not hesitate to contact 3a Malta on info@3amalta.com.

Eco friendly retail investment grant

This Investment grant is issued to support the reduction of packaging and single use plastic through bulk dispensers and reusable containers.

Who is eligible?

The applicant must be a limited liability company with the Malta Business Register, partnership or self-employed engaged in the wholesale or retail of groceries, detergents, toiletries and other goods that may be sold in bulk to the final customer.  The below 3 criteria must be met:

  1. Applicant must not have any dues related to VAT, Income Tax and Social Security which are older than twelve (12) months;
  2. Applicant must not be engaged in activities specifically excluded under the de minimis Regulation (as per section 8 of the investment guidelines as per link provided at end of summary); and
  3. Applicant must have at least one full time employee registered with Jobsplus (a full time self-employed person is considered to meet this criterion).

What is the maximum support

  • Eligible investment shall cover 50% of the eligible expenditure up to a maximum grant of €20,000 per project.
  • The Eco-friendly Retail Grant is a de minimis measure, the total amount of de minimis aid granted to a single undertaking shall not exceed the amount of €200,000 (or €100,000 in in the case of single undertakings performing road freight transport for hire or reward) over a period of three consecutive fiscal years.

What costs are eligible?

  • Dispensing equipment;
  • Rental of Retail space;
  • Reusable containers;
  • Reusable containers, collection points, cleaning and sanitisation facilities; and
  • Procurement and development of Software systems.

How do I apply

  • Applicants must contact Business First to discuss the application;
  • When submitting the application, the applicant will be required to provide full details of costs to be incurred. The figures need to be substantiated by market research and possible by quotations;
  • Application may be downloaded from the Corporation’s website and submitted via the client portal with any other additional documentation as may be required.

Deadline to apply

  • The applications may be submitted from the 1st June until 30th November 2021.

What happens once the application is submitted

  • Malta Enterprise will evaluate the application in terms of the Incentive Guidelines.  The evaluation will take into consideration the objectives of the scheme and how the applicant will be achieving such objectives.  The Corporation has full discretion on the approval of projects.
  • Malta Enterprise may request further clarifications to the applicant at application processing stage;
  • Once approved the Corporation will issue a letter of approval specifying the terms and conditions of the Grant. The letter will include details on implementation and monitoring.

If you would like to find out more you can email our advisory team on tonio@3a.com.mt