GRTU was this morning happy to meet new MEPA CEO Dr Ian Stafrace. This is one of a serious of meetings Dr Stafrace is holding with stakeholders and GRTU was extremely happy to note how Ian Stafrace intends to execute his function with close collaboration and discussions with stakeholders. The general impression after the meeting was that the time when senior MEPA officers hide behind the wall aloof from the realities of practical life is now over.
The GRTU Delegation let by GRTU President Paul Abela, Director General Vince Farrugia, Vice President for the Gozo Business Community Michael Galea and Joseph Attard CEO of Green MT, presented the GRTU's views in representation of SMEs in various economic sectors. GRTU reminded Dr Stafrace that 98.7% of businesses in Malta are small and medium, of which 92% are micro, and that large enterprises constitute less than 1%. The GRTU told Ian Stafrace that we represent 7000 members which together own more than 10,000 enterprises. Our major interest, and this was the main message, is that planning is for the people and the environment belongs to all of us.
GRTU is one organisation that not only speaks about the environment but acts to help its members and Malta in general reach. We accepted the responsibility of waste collection. We are stakeholders not only because we represent business but because we are part of the waste management system.
It is not correct that MEPA has for long been perceived to be owned by architects and developers. Developers represent only 5% of users, the absolute majority is composed of commercial and industrial services. GRTU also represents a wide cross section of contractors who do not only work on specific development projects but are involved in all economic activities.
GRTU put forward a proposal for MEPA and the Ministry for Finance to aid particular sectors so that the number of applications for the expansion and the creation of places of work will increase. GRTU also demanded that action is taken to reduce the time from submitting the application to obtaining a PA number, during which the screening process takes place to one week as the average delay is too long.
GRTU highlighted the importance that businesses are given special schemes and not reduction of tariffs to encourage small business growth at a lower expense and time delay.