Work done by the Malta Enterprise and the Medicines Authority for Maltese companies to be licensed in the field of medicinal cannabis could unravel because according to the CEO of Bank of Valletta, Mario Mallia, notwithstanding the direction of European regulators, the banks can not have a banking relationship with these companies.
In the programme Dissett, entrepreneur Reggie Fava, while disagreeing with the Bank’s position, stated that this is a clear case which showed that there was no coordination between the Government’s ideas and the bank’s.
Chief Executive of Bank of Valletta, Mario Mallia, confirmed that the Bank did not want to have a banking relationship with research and production companies of medicinal cannabis. “BOV has neither the appetite for this business nor is it permitted by the regulator to enter this kind of business.”
Mr Mallia said that this did not mean that the business of these investors was illegitimate.
Entrepreneur Reggie Fava, acknowledged that this industry was still in its infancy, but said that local banks should not turn its back on it. “As as a businessman when I see something new, that for me is the cherry on the cake, because it is something I can cultivate and grow – it is new and innovative. So why can’t we work together?”
The BOV Chief Executive justified the caution adopted by the Bank in this respect. “We do not have the necessary skills to understand this business. If you do not understand the business, how can you take risks?”
However, Mr Fava said that banks must equip themselves to learn about this industry.
“Pharmacy is something new to them. So just because they have never experienced this, they are writing it off completely. What’s that about?”
The Government has indicated that if Maltese banks continue to dig in their heels, investors will move to other banks in the European Union and work with them.