Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Releases Business Survey for 2014

During January 2015 GRTU has conducted a survey about small business performance in 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013. The survey was conducted online using a system of tokens. 200 members were selected at random and emailed a personalised token. Only members who received this token could participate and each could only submit their response once. The respondents were selected from across the business spectrum and included services as can be seen in the first graph of the survey.

The Survey showed that overall, when considering all the respondents including service providers a larger percentage of businesses fared better.

 

When the data was filtered to include only respondents with retail businesses the situation is markedly different with 40% claiming to have fared worse as opposed to 25% who claimed that they fared better.

The survey questions also asked the respondents why they think they did better or worse accordingly. The choices provided were varied and respondents were also allowed to key in other reasons apart from the ones provided in the selections.  Those that did worse in 2014 cited increased local competition and 24% cited sales lost to online shopping as well as 15% citing illegal trading as the main reasons.

Another question asked “What are your expectations for 2015″ and the responses clearly showed that business is looking at 2015 with optimisim with 36% responding that they feel that 2015 will be better and only 17% expecting it to be worse. The responses to these questions tallied with the response for the next question which asked “What are your plans for your business for 2015?” where 31% are planning to expand their business and 57% planning to keep their business the same size.

Other questions included an assesment of sales performance during the Christmas period and here again the response was largely positive with 46% claiming that they were satisifed and only 19% claiming that they were not satisfied.

Respondents were also asked about how the 2014 Budget effected their businesses and here 29% claimed that the effect was negative with 15% claiming that the Budget was positive for their business. The remaining 56% claimed that the Budget has no effect on their business. The respondents that replied that the Budget had a positive impact on their busines claimed that the following factors effected their business positively :

  • The reduction in electricity prices
  • The promise that this year the Government will be tackling unfair competition by sea
  • The promise that this year the Government will be removing Eco Tax
  • The promotion of certain specific sectors
  • The extension of certain schemes
  • The reduction in road tax for small engine capacity motorcycles
  • The addressing of transport issues that has eased delivery problems.
  • The change in the VAT regulations that obliges everyone to issue VAT receipts.
  • The changes in stamp duty of first time property buyers.
  • The vehicle scrappage scheme

 

Respondents who claimed that the Budget effected their business negatively cited the following reasons :

  • The small cost of living (COLA) increase which translates into less consumer spending power.
  • The increase in excise duties on ammunition, wines, tyres, lubricant.
  • The fact that the price of fuels did not decrease but instead was increased (during 2014).
  • The Increase in road licenses.
  • The introduction of new excise duties will only aggravate the problem of unfair competition.
  • There were few incentives to industry.
  • The measures regarding employment of people with a disability.
  • There was Increase in running costs throughout the year.
  • The Increase in tax on cement.
  • The change in the taxation system when selling property.


Finally, respondents were also asked what are their concerns for 2015 and their repsonses are shown below in order of preference.

  • Unfair competition and illicit trading is creating a market distortion.
  • High fuel costs.
  • Parking in all localities, especially in commercial areas and Valletta.
  • Reduction in bureaucracy and Government administrative charges.
  • Business should have easier access to funds and grants.
  • The Eco Tax.
  • Saturation of market.
  • Issues in relation to fairness in public procurement.
  • More help for Gozo businesses.
  • Tackle dominant position players and their charges.
  • Help to compete online.
  • Hawker permits.
  • We need to attract better quality tourists.
  • Labour force limitations and lack of skills.
  • Postal charges to export.
  • Late payments.
  • The removal of the Student card.
  • The Rent laws.
  • Reducing heavy vehicle licenses.
  • Wardens harrassing potential clients.
  • Loading and unloading issues.
  • Car scrapping scheme to include also commercial sector.
  • Opening Hours. (Bars want extended opening hours)
     

Please click here for the full Survey Document

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