Fabian Demicoli

Great Victory for GRTU: Eco Contribution Exemptions at Last

 As the authorities, independent bodies and businesses who have an interest in the subject know, GRTU is behind what has led Government to issue the related Application for Exemption from Eco Contribution in accordance to Legal Notice 84 of 2010 and Legal Notice 74 of 2008 last 4th August. GRTU is the business representative leading businesses not to regard their environmental obligations as a burden but as a social responsibility. We are extremely happy that with this last step the GRTU can see its vision of sustainability reaised with its subsidiary Green MT tacking the burden of businesses on its showlders and operate sustainably.

 

GRTU has since the introduction of the Eco Contribution insisted with Government that the law as drafted and implemented was discriminatory as it arbitrarily selected a number of enterprises and made the products they commercialise subject to the ECOTAX and most others were not forced to abide by the new waste-management compliance standards.

Notwithstanding this, GRTU has strongly worked throughout the last years to build a more corporate responsability approach by its members in order for these members to be able to take up their responsabilities in respect to the environmental obligations of Waste Packaging and also Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment.

While committing itself as a national business organisation to manage a waste Compliance scheme on behalf of its members, GRTU over these last years spearheded the business communities discussions with Government  so that the legal-frame work was put in place both for producers and also for Waste Packaging Complaince Schemes and the sectors related to this infrastructure. The long road led to many obstacles which were overturned one by one after continued structured negotiations with Government Ministries, Authorities and the Local Councils through the Local Councils Association.

In spearheading this silent revolution, GRTU set up its fully owned subsidiary not for profit enterprise Green Mt. Green Mt is a fully licenced National Waste Compliance and Management Scheme  with a permit to operate a Waste Packaging Compliance Scheme. The Scheme has been working logistically through a partnership with Subcontractors and Local Councils since July 01, 2009.

Green Mt today operates in 41 Local Councils in respect to Recovery of Waste Packaging Collection and in agreement with the National  Waste Materials Recovery Facility WasteServ( Malta ) Limited, Green Mt moves all the recycable materials recovered by its subcontractors in 41 Localities to WasteServ who in turn issues on a quarterly basis all the approved certification to ensure a guaranteed  audit trail for all material fractions received at the facility at Sant Antnin. 

Today Green Mt is the market leader for Waste Packaging recovery. Figures show that during July to Dec 2009 , the Scheme recovered 3362 tons of Packaging Waste and during the first six months of 2010 the figure recovered was 6190 tons.

GRTU is extremely grateful to the Authorities that finally the long protracted issue concerning the publication of all the legal mechanism that make the excemption from the payment of  ECO Contribution by firms that comply to the rigid conditions enforced by government for the recovery of waste packaging materials is now in place. This in practice means that firms who have registered  with a registered Compliance scheme can now benefit from tax exemption and are no longer obliged to pay twice (to the Scheme for the service rendered and to Government the EcoTax due).  With the legislation in place as of today, i.e. Legal Notice 84 of 2010,  authorised Schemes that can prove through an approved audit trail that they have recovered  70% of  all the Waste Packaging Materials  each member applying for tax exemption place on the market will for the applying scheme member obtain the certificate of Tax Exemption for the period from July1, 2009.  In 2009  alone the GRTU managed compliance Scheme Green Mt, recovered over 76% of what their  members placed on the market. Today Green Mt is therefore capable to accept  additional members and while recovering the waste materials they put on the waste stream Green Mt can also assure new members of a tax exemption certificate and liberate such enterprises their Waste Packaging Environmental obligations enforced at Law as of January 01, 2010.  Green mt has prudently refused to enroll new members untill the legal mechanism was in place as GRTU policy has consistently been not to commit beyond what our recovery programm can muster.

GRTU insists that Green Mt has ‘given life to a vision'. GRTU has along the last years enhanced its membership base and thus been able to provide its members with more hands on assistance in their environmental obligations. And Green mt is without fail a not for profit operation with final plus resources being distributed between either a fare decrease for members or  more hands on assistance in our Local Councils. Both ways the community at large stands to gain.

The publication of the Application for Exemption from Eco Contribution is a fundamental step in the right direction by Government for Producers of Waste Packaging. GRTU  is very grateful to all those who have helped  to make bring about this important breakthrough in positive fiscal mechanisms for enterprise, a principle close to heart for the GRTU leadership.  Special thanks go to the Prime Minister, Hon Dr Lawrence Gonzi, the Minister of Finance, Economy and Investment, Hon Tonio Fenech and the Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs Hon George Pullicino. GRTU greatly appreciates and is grateful for the professional and total commitment of the Permanent Secretaries, Alfred Camilleri,  Dr Christopher Ciantar and Mr Peter Portelli and of Edgar Galea Curmi  who from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Resources as well as from the Office of the Prime Minister, did all that was necessary to achieve this positive conclusion.

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