Fabian Demicoli

GRTU on Malta’s First Anniversary as EU Member

On the first anniversary of Malta’s accession to the European Union, GRTU – Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, strongly urges Government to change policies, strategies and above all people.

GRTU News Release

Malta Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises

GRTU on Malta’s First Anniversary as EU Member
“Change Policies, Strategies and People”

On the first anniversary of Malta’s accession to the European Union, GRTU – Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, strongly urges Government to change policies, strategies and above all people.

The first year of accession was an essential learning period for most institutions to measure their abilities and strategies against what is needed for Malta to succeed as an effective member of the Union. More importantly it was an essential time for Malta to measure its abilities in pursuit of the opportunities for further economic advancement that EU accession offers.

While on a number of areas we can say with pride that we have been successful, and most noteworthy is the ability shown by many of our representatives, most of them young professionals of who a high ratio are women, participating in the wide ranging EU fora and mechanisms, we have however failed miserably in making the EU reality a positive experience for our people. It has definitely not been a positive experience for proprietors of small businesses and for the sole traders and self-employed.

The European Union experience has for these people been translated into increased bureaucracy, impositions, taxation and a general attitude of Maltese bureaucrats everywhere of “ we know best, you’re not important” GRTU believes that the total result of the highly negative attitude of many bureaucrats towards the owners of small and medium enterprises is that enterprise today believes that Government has no economic vision and they perceive that it is not worthwhile anymore investing in our own country. This is the main reason why GRTU contends that enterprise in Malta is in dire straites.

Unfortunately the pressure from government enterprise owners is increasing as the public sector strives to resolve the financial mess it has landed itself in after the spending spree that Malta has experienced over the last 20 years. Under pressure from Brussels now the Government of Malta must act to resolve its grave financial situation. But government persists in following the wrong strategy. This strategy is based on a vicious cycle. More spending which means more deficits. More deficits leading to more public debts. More public debt means more taxation. More taxation means less consumption and less investments. Less investments means lower GDP. Lower GDP means we are all poorer and less able to pay the taxes imposed on us. Malta must jump out of this dangerous negative spiral.

Enterprise must grow and compete. Competitiveness is essential if economic growth is to become a priority. The burdens that are constantly being imposed on business owners are eating away enterprises’ competitiveness. Entrepreneurs expect strategies to be implemented that succeed to resolve matters and lead to a better future.

GRTU, however, is not convinced that these strategies exist. Too many politicians and too many trade unionists and too many civil society leaders speak as if they know it all and fail to realize one simple and fundamental truth: it is the entrepreneur that is the engine of growth. Investment is created by entrepreneurs. Jobs are created by enterprise. Whether large, medium or small, enterprise must thrive.

Today enterprise in Malta is not thriving. The policies that need to be implemented to give enterprise the enthusiasm to grow, create new investment and plan for a better future, are simply not visible. The future that beckons is dull if we do not resolve this basic fundamental issue. Malta needs to become enterprise-driven. Today Malta is regulation-driven. Malta lacks the vision that matters. Strategies and policies with a dull vision do not inspire confidence. Confidence above all is promoted by the right, positive, enthusiastic people. There are too many people in high positions who not only lack vision but are tired. Some are clearly incompetent.

The Prime Minister must introduce fundamental changes in strategies, policies and, above all, people.

GRTU believes that we can make it, but we need fundamental changes. We can succeed. Indeed we must succeed, but without drastic changes in policies, strategies and above all people, GRTU believes that we will fail. And we cannot afford to fail.

GRTU stresses that change must have one fundamental pivotal point: enterprise.

For Release
April 29th , 2005

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