Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Council meets Leader of the Opposition


Last week the GRTU Executive Council met the Opposition led
by Leader Simon Busuttil together with other representatives of the Opposition.

GRTU President Paul Abela gave an introduction on the
work GRTU today does as a Chamber representing SMEs. Mr Abela said that when
the Nationalist Party was in Government GRTU worked closely with many of those
sitting at the table representing the opposition and now GRTU wants to keep
meeting regularly with the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Ministers.

On the Individual Investment Programme GRTU made its
position clear. GRTU, during the last MCESD meeting with the Prime Minister
that discussed issue, put three concrete proposals on the table, which included
a higher investment value, an investment that could not be sold and the
requirement to have the investor spend time in the country.

GRTU also informed the Opposition that after the
Government decided to open the issue on the Shop Opening Hours, GRTU discussed
the issue with the Government and it was agreed that GRTU would conduct an in
depth consultation with members. Mr Abela emphasized that GRTU represents its
members and that we will be taking the positions the majority of our members
support, based on a thorough analysis. The survey will be conducted during the
month of February.

Mr Abela also informed the leader of the Opposition
that GRTU will be presenting its Manifesto for the European Parliament
elections. He stated that GRTU is in favour of MEPs that can understand
business and it would be a plus if at least one of these representatives really
knew what running a business involved as the way of thinking of an entrepreneur
is different. The GRTU President also emphasized that MEPs should work in close
contact t organizations representing businesses throughout their mandate.

Dr Busuttil said that this is first time he is meeting GRTU
as member of the Opposition and he looked forward to future regular meetings.
Regarding the Individual Investment Programme he said that the Opposition is
still very preoccupied on the issue. He agreed with most points presented by
GRTU on the issue and he said that the investor needs to be linked to our
country and there needs to be genuine bond, backed by a residence of at least 5
years. He said that the opposition sees this scheme presented by Government as
a quick fix and this is not what the country needs.

The Leader of the opposition also quoted GRTU's
Christmas sales survey and stated that the opposition is also concerned with
some of the results that came out of this survey. He also quoted results
published by Eurostat where Malta had the largest drop in retail sales amongst
the whole of Europe.

GRTU council members individually went on to present
the issues being faced by GRTU and its members including unfair competition,
the rent reform, crafts and the renewable energy strategy.

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