eInvoicing – On the way !

In 2014 the European Commission published Directive 2014/55/EU which has the objective of promoting the uptake of electronic invoicing in public procurement. The directive also aims to ensure interoperability and legal certainty between member states on this subject. Electronic invoicing has the benefit of allowing the automated generation, transmission, reception and processing of an invoice. The implementation of a common European Standard on electronic invoicing is a guarantee that these benefits are reached in the context of the European internal market.

On 28 June 2017, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) published the semantic data model for the European standard on eInvoicing. A study on the practical application and implementation of the European e-Invoicing standard was also carried out, which confirmed the suitability of the newly created standard. The Directive stipulates an implementation deadline of 18 months at the national level and 30 months at the regional and local level. The creation of a European standard for eInvoicing in public procurement prevents Member States from creating their own different standards which would lead to increased complexity in term of cross-border interoperability.

The European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Electronic Invoicing (EMSFEI) was created for this purpose and Malta is represented by employees from MEIB (Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business). In March 2018 MEIB called a meeting and invited Maltese Social Partners such as GRTU, MEA, MBB, COC and others. During this meeting, background about the directive and its implementation was given and attendees were informed that a National Forum on eInvoicing would be created shortly. It was also announced that a new member on the EMSFEI must be nominated from amongst the stakeholders to join in the EMSFEI meetings in Brussels. It was noted that ideally this new member would have a technical background as the representatives from MEIB did not have this knowledge. The new member must also be from an organization which is listed in the Transparency Index. The only organist ions around the table that are listed were GRTU and MBB. Both organizations nominated a member and Marcel Mizzi from GRTU was selected to join the EMSFEI. Mizzi’s job will be to report details from the EMSFEI to the Maltese National eInvoicing Forum which has just been created and to relay the concerns of the Maltese Forum to the EMSFEI. Mr. Mizzi attended the seconf EMSFEI meeting on the 11th and 12th April 2018.

Electronic invoicing will at first only pertain to Government procurement and at the start it will be voluntary only and only on high value procurement, later on becoming obligatory. Eventually all business to business invoicing will be done electronically but this is still some years away and only envisaged to happen after the successful implementation of the B2G and G2B phases.

There are numerous issues with the implementation of this directive even during these early stages. Perhaps the most difficult one to solve is disseminating the standards. CEN, the organization that created the standard charges a fee for them. The fee varies from €20 in one Member state to €250 in another. The standards document is required by software development companies as they need to use it to create extensions to their existing applications so that they can produce and process electronic invoices. This was discussed at length during the EMSFEI meetings on the 11th and 12th April. Suggestions were made to mitigate the issues although because of the way the Commission works, some suggestions are irrelevant at this stage. However, it was decided that at least a detailed FAQ would be created to make legal licensing issues better to understand. The EMSFEI meets every 6 months and so far has met twice. The meetings also divide into sub groups, namely one group on “Guidance on the implementation of the EN and Directive”, another on “CIUS (Core Invoice Usage Specifications) and technical implementation” and a third group “Additional requirements and opportunities”. These groups break down the transposition, standards and eventual implementation into manageable chunks and these are then studied and discussed and recommendations are made. These groups will be dismissed when their work is completed and new ones created to tackle remaining issues.

Some member states are lagging behind while others have progressed ahead. Some do not even have the political backing and a Government entity that owns the eInvoicing initiative. The EMSFEI and its components are chasing these countries. CEF (Connecting Europe Facility), which is part of the EMSFEI forum is also organizing training sessions in the Member states themselves and webinars that may be accessed from anywhere. These are all free except for the cost of hosting the presenters. One will be organized shortly in Malta.

For more information please contact



GRTU regrettably announces that business owners started losing their license – the result of a half-baked Penalty Point System

penalty points 1GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs once again states that it has always agreed with the principles behind the penalty point system and that greater care and safety on the road was also in the interest of business, GRTU expresses grave concern on its implementation.

The penalty point system has turned out to be yet another piece of blinkered legislation that places a disproportionate burden on business owners in the most unjust manner. The rash law has unfortunately generated more than a few teething problems and, as GRTU had warned, led to serious consequences.



Since the introduction of the penalty point system, GRTU has been in discussions with the relevant authorities and respective Ministries to try and tackle the various issues the system is causing to our members. Two months down the line, progress achieved have so far been minimal and the authorities appear to be taking the issue lightly while people are losing their license for contraventions they did not commit.

Those which own a considerable amount of vehicles or have registered company vehicles under their name as natural persons are being held liable for breaches they did not make and receiving driving license revocation letters for contraventions incurred by third parties.

Business owners have been placed in a position where they have to prove their innocence for contraventions they did not incur. This includes submission of hundreds of declaration forms and agreements every year, a heavy bureaucratic exercise, and having to convince third parties to admit and take on the responsibility of the penalty points on their name, something that can even result in having to take legal action if the party refuses to own up.

To add insult to injury, the fact that points are being directed to vehicle owners when the vehicles are not stopped, goes against the spirit of the law that clearly states that the penalty points may only be invoked on the driver and not the owner of the vehicle. The Ministers responsible have publicly guaranteed that penalty points will be only be incurred when the vehicle is stopped, with the only exception being speed cameras, yet GRTU can confirm that this is entirely not the case on the ground.

The most recent case of an owner losing his license is due to the lowest speed violation, failure to comply with a directional sign and failure to comply with a stop sign. All of these contraventions were not made by the enterprise owner, in all instances the vehicle was not stopped as required and the owner has received notice that his license is being revoked. This is not the only case GRTU is aware of.

GRTU has always insisted that the necessary infrastructure had to be properly in place before the system is implemented in order to cater for employers. GRTU therefore urges the relevant authorities to address these shortcomings without any further delay. GRTU also urges its members to bring to its attention any similar cases.

GRTU will be meeting both TM and LESA officials this week in a final attempt to iron our issues amicably.

Nominations open for the 2018 Malta EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™

EYTrophyfinalNominations for this year’s Malta EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ are now open until the 9th February 2018. The competition is open to entrepreneurs from all sectors, established and new. To be eligible, nominees must either be Maltese or have been operating a company based in Malta for at least two years. Anyone, including employees, company advisors and financiers can nominate an entrepreneur, with the latter’s consent. Many of the nominations come from the entrepreneurs themselves. Just being nominated can elevate a company’s profile through exposure to other entrepreneurs, sponsors, judges and guests. The winners also benefit from significant international visibility which could drive the next phase of their company’s growth.


The nominations for the 2018 Malta EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ will judged by an independent panel made up of key figures from the business community including Joseph Gasan (Chairman, Gasan Group); Bernie Mizzi (Director, Chiswick House School and St Martin’s College); Andy Beane (CEO, HSBC Bank Malta plc); Frank Farrugia (President, Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry); and Paul Abela (President, GRTU).

The local winner will be flown to Monaco to compete for the grand prize, the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The event brings together national winners from more than 60 countries, selected from a pool of over 5,000 nominees.

Entrepreneur of the Year alumni include some of the most influential, innovative and exclusive entrepreneurs in the world; Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque de Soleil, Amazon founders Jeff Bezos and Reid Hoffman, Formula One’s Eddie Jordan, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Howard Schultz of Starbucks to name a few.

Ambitious young entrepreneurs can apply too. The EY Rising Star Award will be presented to a contender running a high-growth business that is generating excitement in the market. The winner of this award will also attend the World Entrepreneur of the Year™ event.

To apply and for further information visit www.eoymalta.com.


The Entrepreneur Of The Year Award

The award was launched in the US in 1986 and has now spread to 165 cities in over 60 countries. It is the world’s biggest and most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs and the only one with a truly global dimension.

The programme was launched in Malta in 2017 with two objectives:

  • To promote entrepreneurship across the Maltese Islands
  • To empower entrepreneurs to grow their businesses both locally and around the world

Last year, Alfred Pisani, chairman of Corinthia Group, and David Vella, co-founder and CEO, Altaro Software, won the Maltese EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ and EY Rising Star awards. In June, they joined the winners from all over the world in Monaco.

An overall positive year for business; Labour shortage remains an unresolved concern

Click here for Survey Document

GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs’ end of year Business Performance Survey indicates a positive year in general. Three out of every four respondents did not report a decrease in their turnover. Nontheless, Labour shortage was once again found to be the topmost concern, with the direct result of slowing down business growth, fuelling higher labour costs and leading to high levels of staff turnover.

32% reported higher sales during the end of year peak season while 29% had lower sales when compared to the same period in the previous year.
Black Friday was reported to have had limited positive or negative effect on the festive season as a whole with only 17% reporting increased turnover because of this phenomenon. 20%, on the other hand, felt that because of Black Friday their total sales during the festive season decreased.


The survey was carried out amongst 200 business owners during the first half of January.

  • 43.5% say their total sales during 2017 increased over previous year levels – but only 32% had higher profits

The biggest number of respondents said that their turnover increased year on year. Of these, 26% attributed this increase to new products introduced in their activity followed by 20% who felt that consumer spending power was better in 2017. Most of those who reported a decline in their turnover during 2017 felt that this was due to stiff online and local competition, followed by those who pointed towards illicit trade, unfair competition and lack of parking facilities.
Only 18% of respondents sold their products online and of these, the majority said that total online sales accounted to less than 10% of their total sales. For 19% of those who sell online, online sales accounted for more than 50% of their sales. Many of those who did not sell online stated that the reason behind this is that their products could not be sold online or their clients do not shop online.

27% had lower profits compared to the previous year while 32% had higher profits. 26.5% fared worse than they had expected at the start of the year and 19.5% fared better.

  • 47% satisfied on the going of sales during the end of year festivities; 29% report lower sales when compared to the same period the year before

47% of those whose turnover is affected by the end of year festivities were satisfied or very satisfied with the 2017 end of year season with 32% reporting higher turnover when compared to the same period a year before. 24% were not satisfied and 25% were neutral.

The week and the weekend leading up to Christmas day seemed to have been, by far, the busiest for businesses, followed by the 8th December long weekend, 13th December and Black Friday. Business owners felt that brand loyalty, the cold weather and consumer spending power were positive factors this season while online competition, traffic and parking facilities and unfair trading contributed negatively to their going of business during the festive season.
Looking back at the whole season, 63% said that Black Friday has not impacted turnover, neither positively or negatively.

Only 28% started offering price reductions before 31st December, with reductions mostly ranging between 20% and 50% of the original price. The client base remained largely Maltese – at 68%; and the average spent by consumers in a given shop was most frequently €20 to €49 followed by the €50 to €99 category.

  • 50% hopeful for a better year

Half of the respondents are expecting a better 2018, with 40% expecting this year to be as last year and 10% expecting to fare worse. 36% plan to keep their business in the same size as it currently is while 26% are planning to expand their business in Malta. 4% are looking oversees for their business expansion this year. 11% intend to set up their ecommerce website. 4% are planning to downsize their business, 6% planning to pass over to next generation or third parties and a further 2% are planning to close down. In 83% of the latter cases, the head of organisation has 56 years of age or more.

  • Labour shortage and related effects tops businesses’ concerns across the board

Labour shortage remained the topmost unresolved concern among businesses across all sectors. That said, in a number of sectors – such as those with a high degree of driving and the catering industry; this problem seems even more pronounced. 52% of respondents are expecting they will have to recruit new employees during 2018 and in 46% of these cases the main reason is expected staff turnover.

Fierce competition and increasing costs in general followed suit, before traffic and infrastructure -including the lack of parking facilities and road works taking too long to complete (such as in established shopping districts like Paola).



Energy Audit Voucher Scheme – Launched

The Business Advisory Services provide business undertakings operating in Malta with advisory services that suit their specific requirements.

Through the Energy Audit Voucher Scheme, small and micro undertakings that have their energy consumption between 10,000 kWhr and 75,000 kWhr, may engage an Energy Auditor to carry out a high level energy review of the activity.  Through the energy audit, the business would identify actions and investments that may be carried out to reduce energy consumption.

Should you wish to see the full details and links to relevant application documents, please click here.