Fabian Demicoli

A budget and economic mismatch for SMEs

Even though this year’s budget had a number of somewhat positive points, the GRTU had expected     much more for Small Businesses (SMEs).

GRTU does not feel that businesses should be grateful for no increase in taxes. Businesses were one of the main contributors that generated the economic growth and surplus we are enjoying today. This time, they were also the ones left out from government’s wealth distribution plans. In the current economic scenario, GRTU had expected a reduction in corporate taxation and the reversal of the harmful excise tax, amongst other things.

GRTU welcomes positive incentives such as the extension of the MicroInvest scheme and commitments to further reduce bureaucracy as well as the increased enforcement to ensure a level playing field. These are measures that have now become commonplace in every year’s budget. One will need to see what these will actually and tangibly result in.

We appreciate that the environment is high on government’s agenda, which is positive. This must however be accompanied by proper consultation in order to foster the right synergies with the private sector.

It appears that the government is taking our positive GDP trends for granted with no new incentives to continue stimulating the economy. GRTU is surprised that out of the 13 proposals it presented none have been adequately addressed.

GRTU is amongst others alarmed that the biggest challenge facing businesses today, the lack of human resources, was not even given a mention in this year’s budget.

This budget is populated by numerous minor proposals, none having the aggressive approach we desired to address specific issues. A case in point is traffic congestion with pages explaining minute solutions and nothing strong enough to really make a difference.

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