SME Week Conference 2019

Absolute majority of enterprises concerned about the banking situation in Malta

GRTU 1GRTU Malta Chambers of SMEs today organised it’s annual SME Conference. This years conference focused on the Banking and financial issues and GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs published it’s survey results. During this years’conference over 200 enterprises attended this event.

The conference was supported by Business 1st and MEIB as part of the month-long itinerary of SME Week.

74% of the enterprises replied that they find it difficult to get funds from banks. Up by 25% over the results of a similar survey that asked the same question in 2011.

The survey results show that businesses need more competition in the banking sector and that from a business perspective, the situation in the banking sector has never been worse. The survey results where published by GRTU Vice President Marcel Mizzi.

The conference was addressed by the Minister for Economy, Investment and small businesses. Hon. Chris Cardona, thanked GRTU for never shying away from challenges faced but also working towards finding a solution for these challenges. He insisted that “we are facing new challenges of new economic times, and there are no easy solutions. Offering support and resolutions for these dynamic challenges is what guarantees our businesses future success.”
The Minister referenced the tight labour market and changing banking policy as two of the new challenges businesses are today facing, as the country has entered a new economic era.

New challenges to businesses nowadays highlighted in the conference, also include their incorporation and adjustment to rapid technological changes, including data management,information security and incorporating a blockchain infrastructure.

Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia also addressed the conference and announced that local businesses will benefit from a partnership signed between Malta Enterprise and T-Systems, a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, whereby together they will be offering blockchain as a service for companies setting up their blockchain project in Malta.

GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs President Paul Abela said that, while Malta is going through a very particulat time, we are facing challenges that come from having too much success. Paul Abela said that a lot of hard work went into getting Malta to whre it is today, and this hard work was not only done by our policy makers, but a lot of it was at the hand of enterprise owners.




New Brexit deal agreed, UK PM Boris Johnson says

A Brexit deal has been agreed between UK and EU negotiating teams before a meeting of European leaders in Brussels.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control.”

The two sides have been working on the legal text of a deal, but it will still need the approval of both the UK and European parliaments.

The DUP has cast doubt on its sign off, saying they still cannot support it.

The Northern Irish party earlier released a statement saying they could not back proposals “as things stand”, and – after the PM’s announcement – said their statement “still stands”.

Source: BBC

Budget 2020: What’s in it for you

Budget 2020: Positive, next steps should be for SMEs – GRTU

GRTU – Malta Chamber of SMEs saw plenty of positives in Budget 2020.

Paul Abela, President of the General Retailers and Traders Union, said that the GRTU had reacted to this budget positively, which in is words, “could not be otherwise.”

Among other proposals, Mr Abela referred to the proposed reduction of stamp duty on the transfer of a family business, and the tax reduction on the first 100 hours of overtime, as well as increasing the cost of living.

The government had also taken up the GRTU’s proposals to ensure adequate connectivity between Malta and Gozo.


The Government future step should be to enact another GRTU proposal – that of capping tax rates for SMEs to a maximum of 20%.

Budget 2020: What’s in it for you


• Overtime will be taxed at 15%, This measure will apply on the first 100 hours of overtime in a year, for those with a basic salary of not more than €20,000, this measure will not apply to management positions

• The reduction of 1.5% stamp duty on the transfer of a family business will continue


• Grant of up to €200,000 for contractors to scrap old machinery and buy new, less polluting models

• Extension of start-up schemes


• COLA increase of €3.49 per week

• Pensioners will receive an increase of €7 per week, inclusive of COLA

• One day will be added to leave

• A Tax rebate cheque for those earning under €60,000


• New scheme will see people under 40 who cannot cover the 10% deposit to buy a house, eligible for a government interest-free loan up to maximum of €17,000, paid back over 15 years

• First time buyers scheme will apply on property value of €175,000, an increase from €150,000, and the maximum benefit will increase to €6,500 from €5,000

• Schemes for property purchases in Gozo, urban conservation areas, second time buyers and equity sharing will be retained

• Scheme to restore facades of old houses Irrestawra Darek extended for a further year


• Next year, the bottle return scheme will start

• Single-use plastic will be banned in phases starting from a ban on importation in 2021 and distribution in 2022

• Grant to help shops set up green corners where they can sell products by weight

• Schemes covering PV panels and water pumps will continue

• Those who introduced PV panels some years ago and whose pay back rate is running out will benefit from a €1,000 grant to buy their own battery to store electricity

• Lighting systems in all squares will be changed to renewable self-sufficient systems

• Malta Stock Exchange will open up for green bonds


• VAT will be removed on educational and vocational services, including distance learning


Government will issue 62+ bonds targeting 6,500 pensioners


• Gozo tunnel – The pre-qualification questionnaire will be issued in the coming weeks


• Malta Enterprise will invest in open areas in industrial estates to make them greener and adequate meeting areas for employees

• Cash transactions in real estate, car, yacht, precious metals and art, purchases will be limited to €10,000

GRTU says no to quotas or corrective mechanisms and yes to the real measures that will address the obstacles that remain to achieve an equally representative Parliament

final equality 2GRTU as the national business organisation representing the interest of SMEs has participated in the consultation exercise – ‘Gender Balance in Parliament Reform’ that seeks to make changes to the composition of our Parliament.

GRTU welcomes the consultation paper and the policy initiative that is being taken. GRTU acknowledges that serious effort and commitment is required in order to overcome the remaining hurdles and obstacles that are holding, not just women, but valid individuals of any gender that cannot participate in politics with the aim of becoming MPs because being an MP with the current conditions is today very difficult.

There are a number of radical changes, proposed in the same consultation document, that must be further strengthened and exhausted before one considers making changes to our constitution to change the composition of our most important democratic institution – Parliament, on the basis of gender.

The gender corrective mechanism is not what females or anyone else interested in politics needs. What is needed is a real chance to make this opportunity a reality. Current conditions for MPs force them to dedicate their life to politics and setting aside full-time career aspirations and their families. This is the real hurdle keeping not just women but all valid individuals that want to choose to be active and present in their families and pursue a career that will help them not to struggle financially. It is inhumane to ask from our MPs to stay at work because their pay at Parliament just cannot sustain them, then, after work hours, be an MP and dedicate him/herself to politics and then also be an active parent.

 GRTU CEO Abigail Mamo said that ‘This problem affects women mostly because traditionally they are the primary care givers and that is a reality. Therefore, choosing a life where they have to be most of the time away from their family is of course harder. What will the gender corrective mechanism fix in this regard? The answer is statistics and ranking. This will only result in one less reason to pursue and eradicate the obstacles that are keeping women away from Parliament, because on paper gender balance would have been achieved, cosmetically. That is not the advancement we women or our society deserves’.

As the consultation document itself outlines MPs should have the opportunity to pursue their political career full time. Their remuneration should reflect their responsibility and, being our decision makers, they should have their own secretariat and researchers to support their work. Those that are parents should be able to have time for their kids and family and therefore the hours of Parliament must reflect this and child minding support introduced. These are the radical changes that will make a difference on how many women feature on our ballot sheet.

The problem is not the voter. The gender corrective mechanism will be applied to correct voters’ choice when the voter is not really biased against women. Statistics show amply that voters vote for women. In the last general election voters voted for women in almost the same proportion they voted for men. 19% of all men on the ballot paper and 14% of all women on the ballot paper were elected. If one had to look into greater detail in the numbers, the discrepancy is less than 5%. The situation is markedly different with the members for the European Parliament elections. In the last two EP elections the voter choice for women surpass greatly the choice of males; by 20% in the latest EP election. Where is this big discrepancy that will necessitate doctoring the composition of our parliament?

We need to do more to attract women to be candidates and this is done if women can consider this as a viable option. The consultation document even puts incentives for parties to carry projects to bring more women on our ballot sheets through financial incentives, another very innovative and radical proposal.

One must also consider how the quota or gender corrective mechanism will impact the perception of women, especially those women elected through the system. GRTU CEO Abigail Mamo added that ‘there is nothing more demeaning than being the token female. I work in what was traditionally a male dominated environment that today has changed a lot in this sense. I am in my position based on merit and have had to prove myself like anyone occupying such positions. I cannot imagine what it would have been like for me personally to be placed in my position just for being female. Apart from feeling ridiculed I would have had a tough time proving my worth and changing people’s perception of me that I am not just female but also worthy in occupying my position. I am no exception, I am only proof that the society we live in has changed and women are not prejudiced as they used to be in the past’.

On a final note GRTU believes that now that we have reached a state of progress where individuals can even choose not to associate with any gender and real effort is being put to treat everyone equally, basing a corrective mechanism on gender sets our country a good number of steps back, not forward.

Proof of status of Union Goods

All Economic Operators are being informed that in accordance with the Transit Manual Working Document (TAXUD/A2/TRA/003/2016-EN), the proof of status is required at the final Union port of destination (discharge), issued and authenticated by the competent authority (T2L).

It is recommended that in these cases the proof of status accompanies the goods from the start of the transport operation. Proof of the customs status of Union goods through the invoice or transport document in lieu of the presentation of a T2L.


The invoice or transport document shall include at least the following information:

  • •                 the full name and address of the consignor, or of the person concerned where that person is not the consignor;
  • •                 the number and kind, marks and reference numbers of the packages;
  • •                 a description of the goods;
  • •                 the gross mass in kilograms;
  • •                 the value of the goods;
  • •                 the container numbers, if appropriate;
  • •                 the symbol T2L or T2LF, as appropriate;
  • •                 the hand-written signature of the person concerned

Note: the invoice or transport document must relate only to Union goods.

At the request of the person concerned, the invoice or transport document duly completed and signed by him shall be endorsed, by the competent office.

In the Union only: where the total value of the Union goods covered by the invoice or transport document does not exceed EUR 15000, no endorsement by the competent office is required. However, the name and address of the competent office shall be shown on the invoice or document, in addition to the above details.

In addition, the Department would like to remind you that ONLY original T2L/T2LF supported by an original copy 4 of the Single Administrative Document (SAD) and original invoices/transport documents are accepted.

This procedure also applies to Maltese Economic Operators who are sending community goods to another Member State.

For further information and clarification, you may wish to contact the Department’s Customs Economic Procedures Unit (CEPU) on Tel: 25685141/2 or by send an email to 

Notice to Economic Operators: Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI)

Anyone importing commercial goods from outside the EU (or exporting in the opposite direction) needs an EORI number. The number is also used bycustoms authorities when exchanging information between themselves and government departments and agencies.  In accordance with the VAT Act, an Economic Operator is not required to apply with the VAT Department for importation purposes however the same EO needs to be VAT registered when declaring goods for export.

In this context, an EORI number may be issued irrespective of whether the Economic Operator is VAT registered or not.  If not VAT registered, the Economic Operator cannot access our National Export System (NES).

For additional information, you may wish to contact the Customer Services Unit (Tel: 25685123) or by sending an email to: 

Notice to Economic Operators: Obligations of the holder of the Union Transit Procedure and of the Carrier and Recipient of goods moving under the Union Transit Procedure

Malta, along with all other parties to the Common Transit Convention, has been investigating the high number of undischarged movements in NCTS. It has become clear that a major reason for non-discharge is that goods and/or the TAD are not being presented to Customs at the Office of Destination. In some cases, customs declarations are being made without reference to transit while in others no customs declarations are being made at all.

Some Consignees are not recognising the TAD as an official document and are not aware of their responsibilities according to the law.

This notice draws attention to the legal responsibilities of importers and carriers and explains what Customs are doing to promote compliance.

Article 233 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 (the Union Customs Code) provides that the principal is responsible for producing goods intact, within prescribed time limits, at the Customs Office of Destination. The Article goes on to provide that a carrier or recipient of goods who accepts goods knowing that they are moving under Community Transit is also responsible for meeting these obligations. The provisions are replicated in the Common Transit Convention.

Principals, carriers and consignees should ensure that they know when goods are moving under transit and make the necessary arrangements to comply with procedures. They should also ensure that both they and their employees are able to recognize a TAD as an official document. In a transit movement under the NCTS ‘Normal Procedure’, the TAD accompanies the goods and both it and the goods must be presented to Customs at the nominated Office of Destination. Customs retain the TAD and send an NCTS arrival message. If a TAD is included with paperwork received by the consignee there is a strong presumption that the transit movement has not been completed. In such circumstances the consignee should contact Customs immediately.

It is important to note that failure to fulfil these obligations may constitute offences in terms of the Union Customs Code (Reg (EU) No 952/2013) and/or of the Customs Ordinance (Chap. 37) and, consequently, subject to penalties/criminal offences.

Excerpt from the Union Customs Code

Article 233

Obligations of the holder of the Union transit procedure and of the carrier and recipient of goods moving under the Union transit procedure

  1. The holder of the Union transit procedure shall be responsible for all of the following:

(a) presentation of the goods intact and the required information at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time-limit and in compliance with the measures taken by the customs authorities to ensure their identification;

(b) observance of the customs provisions relating to the procedure; and

(c) unless otherwise provided for in the customs legislation, provision of a guarantee in order to ensure payment of the amount of import or export duty corresponding to any customs debt or other charges, as provided for under other relevant provisions in force, which may be incurred in respect of the goods.

  1. The obligation of the holder of the procedure shall be met and the transit procedure shall end when the goods placed under the procedure and the required information are available at the customsoffice of destination in accordance with the customslegislation.
  1. A carrier or recipient of goods who accepts goods knowing that they are moving under the Union transit procedure shall also be responsible for presentation of the goods intact at the customsoffice of destination within the prescribed.

GRTU welcomes the first Malta Development Bank scheme

The scheme announced this morning by Bank of Valletta with the support of the Malta Development Bank is very good news for Maltese Businesses. Businesses will be able to apply for financing of their projects up to a maximum of Eur 750,000, at a 3.5% interest rate and lower collateral requirements.

GRTU welcomes this announcement as the first positive tangible step made by the Malta Development Bank. The development bank was the mover behind this scheme but GRTU thanks all the parties involved, both foreign and local, that came together to make this possible.

GRTU had campaigned for the establishment of a Development Bank for Malta for many years and what we are experiencing today was specifically the reason. Many businesses, especially SMEs, experience difficulties in accessing finance because of the high interest rates and collateral requirements, making access to finance very expensive.

This scheme puts businesses at par with many other EU countries when accessing finance. On average businesses will now pay the same for an investment as their counterparts would do in a number of Member States, not twice or three times as much.

The scheme is currently accessible through Bank of Valletta and GRTU encourages businesses to make the most out of this invaluable opportunity.

Business interested can contact GRTU for further information.

GRTU requests a transparent investigation on the wrongdoings of the cleaning tender

GRTU has taken note of information that came out today concerning a case related to the procurement process of a public tender. Such episodes shed a bad light and instill doubts on the good governance and transparency of the public procurement systems.


Although GRTU positively notes the decision to reverse this ‘illegal’ intervention, GRTU however expresses its disappointment on the fact that bidders had to resort to the avenues of appeal in order to protect and safeguard their interest.

CEO Abigail Mamo said that ‘A small business would have simply given up and would end up losing on what is his due to irregularities and inconsistencies. Fighting such unfairnesses is more taxing on the smaller businesses that have limited resources to pour into legal remedies.’

GRTU therefore notes that a fool-proof mechanism should be in place to monitor these irregularities and pro-actively avoid such situations. Systems must be applied across the board and any such human intervention prohibited.

GRTU insists that such cases must be thoroughly investigated and the root of the issue uncovered in a transparent manner and resolved through actions and penalties for all parties involved in any wrongdoing. Apart from prohibiting, the system cannot allow any kind of leniency in such grave circumstances and clear messages need to be given on the repercussions and lack of tolerance of such actions.

Il-Burdnara Sectional Committee fi ħdan il-GRTU tinsab diżappuntata ħafna bl-aġir irresponsabli tal-kontrollur tad-dwana

Tul l-aħħar snin saru numru ta’ apelli formali lill-kontrollur tad-dwana, biex jirregola id-dħul ta vetturi fi ħdan il-portijiet lokali u biex titieħed azzjoni immedjajta kontra persuni mhux liċenzjati li qegħdin jiġu permessi jidħlu fil-port u jagħmluha ta’ Burdnara. Għalkemm saru diversi apelli, sfortunatament, dawn l-apelli, waqgħu fuq widnejn torox.

Għal-darb’oħra, il-Burdnara Section Committee tinnota li Kap. 203, Artiklu 3 tal-liġi ta’ Malta jgħid li ħadd ma jista’ jagħmilha ta’ Burdnar ħlief  b’permess tad-dwana u skont permess tad-dwana mogħti għalhekk mill-kontrullur. Barra minnhekk Artiklu 9 tal-istess Kap jgħid li importatur, esportatur u sid ta’ merkanzija jistgħu jittrasportaw merkanzija minn jew għall-tinda tad-dwana, maħżen għal depożitu, veranda, mall jew post iehor ta depożitu, permezz tas-servizzi ta’ Burdnar liċenzjat.

Filwaqt li l- Burdnara Section Committee fi ħdan il-GRTU  għal-darb’oħra qiegħda iżżomm il-Kummissarju tat-taxxi responabbli għall-danni, spejjeż u nteressi li diġa’ sofrew u li jistgħu isofru b’konsegwenza ta’ dan, ttenni l-apell tagħha biex titieħed azzjoni mmedjata u jitwaqqfu persuni mhux liċenzjati li qegħdin jitħallew jidħlu fil-port u jagħmluha ta’ Burdnara.

Il-Burdnara Sectional Committee tapella ukoll lill-membri tagħha biex jassiguraw li jkollhom l-‘isticker’ tal-permess tad-dwana imwaħħal ma’ kull vettura irreġistrata dan biex jiġi ffaċilitat ix-xogħol lill-membri tad-dwana u jkun assigurat li kulħadd huwa konformi mal-liġi.

Il-Burdanra Sectional Committee ttemm billi tfakkar li aġir bħal dan jkompli jdajjef il-kompetitivita’ ta’ dawk li jimxu skont il-liġi u fl-istess ħin jibgħat mesaġġ li min jikser il-liġi jista’ jagħmel dan b’mod liberu u mingħajr konsegwenzi.

On the 29th of March 2019, GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the year 2018.

AGM 29GRTU President Paul Abela said that not only was 2018 another busy year for GRTU but it was also an extraordinary year.

This year GRTU started operating from its new headquarters in Floriana. At the same time we also started implementing the biggest EU funding project ever administered by GRTU in terms of value. This is helping GRTU be stronger and more effective, providing GRTU and its members with great benefits”, said the GRTU President.

Mr Abela also announced the start of a rebranding project which aims to give a new, revamped image to the organisation and one that better reflects what GRTU is and does today. The GRTU President mentioned that we will not forget where we started from, as our history is part of who we are today and we will endeavour to incorporate this into a new brand. This is a very exciting project for us and our members and it will drive GRTU into the future.

Mr Abela also mentioned that he is proud that GRTU has managed to become versatile, extending its membership of over 90 economic sectors to welcome gaming companies, companies in financial services and companies that are based on consultancies.

Ms Abigail Mamo, GRTU CEO, gave a detailed presentation on GRTU’s Annual Report.

Mr Marcel Mizzi, GRTU Vice President Finance and Administration, presented an overview of GRTU’s accounts to the General Meeting.

Mr Paul Abela expressed his gratitude towards GRTU’s staff and councillors for their hard work throughout the year.