SME Chamber

GRTU demands action

GRTU has been meeting
Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and presenting them with a dossier with
the main priorities for GRTU members. GRTU this week has written to them
outlining the immediate action that needs to be taken. 


Changes in Taxation of Farmers

GRTU has written to Mr Roderick Galdes, Parliamentary Secretary  for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights:

Unfair loss of
revenue, related to taxation due from individuals who are full time farmers but
also support their earnings through other economic activities.

reform: Unfortunately the previous Special Committee on the Reform of the
Pitkalija has been left in abeyance. The whole reform has remained a mystery to
buyers and no forums exist for us to present recommendations for reform.

for the reform and re-foundation on an new commercial structure of the area in
Ta' Qali in use by buyers from the Ta' Qali Pitkalija.



of Illicit Trading



GRTU has expressed its concern
to Prof. Edward Scicluna, Minister of Finance, arguing that the loss of trade
and negative impact on private trading profits of legitimate traders as well as
the effective drain of public revenue from customs tariffs, VAT, ECO Tax and
Income Tax necessitates strong effective action.

GRTU recommended the
immediate establishment of an ad-hoc Commission with the participation of all
stake-holders including GRTU to investigate, assess data and make
recommendations for action without further delay.





to Permanent Secretary Alfred Camilleri calling an urgent meeting to come
forward with a plan of action to resolve matters on Eco Contribution.

situation as it is now is no longer tenable and definitely not acceptable to
GRTU. Too many products that end up on the waste stream continue to remain Eco
Tax free while many polluters remain outside the legal registration regime. The
whole Eco Tax structures was established with little experience and with very
narrow aims and, in spite of the change brought forward through consultations,
the whole Eco Tax regime remains deficient. The end result is that too few
entrepreneurs are carrying the major burden. Government had become resistant to
change while the national targets remain unfulfilled. We now feel the time is
ripe for a thorough change.


of Port dues



GRTU has written to Hon Dr Chris
Cardona on the excessive port charges imposed by the Terminal Operators and by
Malta Transport.

In spite of the previous
planned action to resolve this matter nothing effective was materialized. The
privatization of both the Valletta and the Marsaxlokk harbours brought
additional costs rather than the reductions that were promised. Furthermore
compared to other harbours, charges are simply not competitive.

GRTU has expressed the
importance to establish a new participative stake-holders' commission to
address this issue to investigate, assess and recommend is more logical
solution to bring in affective reforms.


Village Ta` Qali


has written to CEO Sue Vella saying that our impression is that this issue has
gone on the back burner.  The last stage
as approved by Malta Enterprise Board was the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding on 6th of June 2012 that should have led the way for the fulfillment
of the agreed Plan of Action.

requested an update of the state of play as GRTU is eager for a solution. GRTU
will continue to strive for a definite conclusion that satisfies the majority
of operators and leads the way for new craft ventures.


requested for our specific committee to be briefed, updated and kept in
consultation. GRTU is looking forward to an early meeting in this regard.


in Payment Card costs



GRTU has
written to Hon Christopher Cardona, Minister for Economy, Investment an Small
Business on the whole argument GRTU has concerning the Multilateral Interchange
fees (MIFs). These are charged at the banking level and passed on to merchants
and consumers, but it is invisible to consumers, who cannot avoid it. Banks argue
that in return they offer several benefits, many of which are not requested by
card holders, but are accepted because they are considered ‘free' – even if
many of them are rarely used.

This is
particularly bad for SMEs, which have no negotiating muscle, although many such
small businesses must now accept cards to retain their customers. The net
result is that every consumer pays, even those who pay by cash because this
‘transaction tax' ends up as part of the final price.

complaints made the unfair situation created was recognised by European Courts
and important changes had to be made by both Master Card and Visa.

European countries, the level of interchange fees varies significantly.
Competition authorities, central banks and other authorities around the world
have been investigating and expressing concerns about the operation of card
payment systems for many years. Reform has taken place in a number of
jurisdictions. In many countries, interchange fees have been decreasing over

emphasised that in Malta the issue needs to be taken seriously as it was taken
in many other Member States. Government should ensure that local banks are
implementing the decisions of the European Courts in a timely manner and where
discrepancies are found push for adherence. The office of Competition should
also legally investigate the anti-transparency and anti-competitive behaviour
of banks by imposing hidden and artificially high prices. MIFs should be
brought down the real cost of the service utilized.

for credit applications should be cost-based, unbundled from all other services
(e.g. interest free period and rewards) and paid for by the beneficiary of the
service. Any reintroduction of such fees by any other mechanism should be

The fee
that meets the test is set at such a level that the merchant would be at least
indifferent as to whether his customer pays by card or in cash.

impression is that the Public regulators in Malta have not given this matter
the due consideration in spite of the highly negative impact MIF charges have.
The GRTU requested determining action and a clear public position by Public


Conditions on Gov Owned Shop Premises in Valletta


GRTU wrote to Dr Michael
Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Simplification of
Administrative Processes. Following a worrying statement made in Parliament by
Dr Farrugia GRTU felt the need to highlight that the current rent policy as
obtained after years of negotiations with Government on behalf of retailers in
government owned premises is very important for many of our members, as indeed
is the whole reformed Rent Laws for which GRTU has strong and published

Rent conditions are
important and the liabilities resulting from the incorporated conditions have
great impact on the viability of all enterprises. An enterprise does not merely
impact economically on its owner but also on other dependents of the enterprise
including employees and their families, creditors, etc. The survival of an
enterprise is a main issue for GRTU and that is an important reason why we
strive for security of tenure on rent matters and why we object to rent clauses
that jeopardize the long term survival of the enterprise if subjected to
generic renting conditions.

GRTU requested to be
consulted prior to any changes on the matter.





Writing to Mr James Piscopo,
Chairman at Transport Malta, GRTU expressed that because of our members it is
extremely important for GRTU that a constant fruitful relationship and a
structured consultation process is maintained.

GRTU mentioned that
currently, Burdnara (Licensed Customs Clearance Agents and Cargo Haulers) have
unresolved issues related to operations at Valletta Gate Terminal, Laboratory
Wharf, Freeport, Hal Far Groupage Depot and Airport.

GRTU asked for an
opportunity to brief the Chairman on pending issues.

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