Fabian Demicoli

GRTU drives for improved economic stimulus package to mitigate impact of electricity & water tariffs

 GRTU yesterday stressed at MCESD and to Minister for Finance, The Economy and Investment, the Hon. Tonio Fenech, on the need to improve the economic stimulus package proposed in Budget 2010 to mitigate for the added pressure on micro, small and medium sized enterprises imposed by the new electricity and water tariffs and approved by the Malta Resources Authority.

 

GRTU also insisted with Government on the utmost importance to have all schemes mentioned in Budget 2010 implemented without further delay and to have these schemes made available to all micro and small firms.

GRTU is proposing to Government a number of new initiatives and schemes adding to those already presented by GRTU in the pre-budget discussions and incorporate in Budget 2010. This new initiative includes the following proposals:

 

Rate of subsidy for investment in photovoltaics to go up to 70% to all enterprises that opt to implement the project within 12 months from approval, to benefit employment increase and immediate energy savings.

A standard attractive feed-in tariff for all firms, households and other establishments interested in investing heavily in photovoltaic systems. It is important that those who have the space and the capabilities are encouraged to provide new orders for new jobs to be created and saving on electricity made in the medium to long term.

Power Conservation Programme: Set up a quota allocation benchmarked on usage in Year 2008. This would give credits on the bill of those who successfully diminished their quota so that small and medium enterprises can benefit from reduced tariff payment on future bills.

Eco-Rebates for SMEs according to the Energy Conservation Programme.

Enterprises increasing their production or employment and as a result will suffer increases in electricity billing would be awarded a tax credit of 60% on the additional electricity charge when compared to the same period a year before.

The €2.5M Electricity Support Fund for small enterprises mechanism be put in place with immediate effect and increased to €10M.

The €20M Micro-Credit Support Scheme for SMEs should also be made available for the benefit of micro and small firms who encounter liquidity problems to meet their electricity billing with a written commitment not to reduce employment levels for a period of 12 months. The Scheme must be made available to all economic activities, including those involving vehicles and road equipment. This because it would give these sectors the possibility to shift funds from investment to cash flow needs to meet their electricity, water and fuel billing. The 40% (60% for Gozo) Tax Credit scheme will also be similarly applied.

Introduce a two option billing system by Enemalta. One based on a guaranteed price and another multi tier option. This gives enterprises the option to buy a two year fixed special rate depending on the electricity intensitivity of the service or product they produce.

Increase funding for Energy Audits to all economic sectors since this has now become an urgent matter for most micro-firms.

Enemalta to extend the use of night meters, especially for the super-markets, mini markets and other food retailers and wholesalers.

Special rates to be given to firms where more than 65% of their output sale is of essential products sold directly to Maltese consumers.

Tax credits of up to €2000 for builders of all new energy efficient homes constructed according to energy efficient standards approved by MRA/MEPA/MSA for all homes built in 2009 and 2010. These tax credits would be given if a building obtained 50% reduction in the building's total energy and power cost according to approved levels.

A tax deduction of €20 per square meter made available to owners of new and existing buildings used as premises for commercial, catering, industrial, accommodation, retail or office who install interior lighting, building envelope or heating, cooling, ventilation or hot water systems that reduce the building's total energy and power cost by 50% or more in comparison to a building meeting minimum requirement as set by the MSA/MRA/MEPA. Energy saving must be calculated using qualified computer software approved by the Inland Revenue Department.

Tax deduction of €5.00 per square meter available to owners of existing licensed commercial, catering, industrial, accommodation, retail or office premises where individual lighting, building envelope, or heating and cooling systems meet target levels that would reasonably contribute to an overall building saving of 30% if additional systems were installed.

Quicker implementation of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, including plans for assistance for energy saving investments.

Traffic lights and public lighting to be converted to operate by solar power and works to commerce with a short time framework, thus creating new green job possibilities.

For Release: 14th December 2009

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