Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Welcomes The Long Awaited One Stop Shop

 Yesterday GRTU attended the press conference organised by the Ministry for Finance the Economy Investment, where Minister Tonio Fenech announced the Business First initiative which is essentially a one-stop-shop for businesses which will open its doors on the 23rd of January next year.

 

During the press conference Hon Minister Fenech stated that this is a service businesses have for long been requesting and that Government intends to win the recession by providing businesses with better support. The setting up of a one stop shop, which is a point of single contact, falls also under the obligations of the Services Directive.

Mr Alan Camilleri, Chairman of Malta Enterprise, said that the service will be operated by Malta Enterprise and its services will range from advice on setting up of businesses to the formalities of registering a company, VAT registration, applications for water and electricity, employment forms and applications for business licences. He also said that in order to create a service which is as responsible as possible to the needs of enterprises, SMEs especially, Malta Enterprise conducted a survey with businesses of different sizes and from a variety of sectors.

From the survey it transpired that the 3 departments, VAT, TAX, Enemalta, with which businesses deal with and cover 80% of total interaction with authorities. The survey also showed that businesses find it complicated to discover what forms they require, from where to get access to them, acquire the whole, clear and truthful information, filling in and submitting applications. The businesses said that from this new service they would expect a more efficient and less bureaucratic service, help and advice and they also suggested the best times during which the service would be offered.

Through this service Government will provide a centralised service and commits itself to give a reply within a maximum of 10 days. Government will have trained and professional individuals providing the service and has entered into agreements of cooperation with the various Public departments and authorities in order to have their full cooperation. At Business First, the client will be seen as a partner for economic growth.

Amongst the services offered will be: Registration of a company, initiation and termination of employment, TAX, VAT, trading licences, water and electricity, employment licences, visas and residence permits.

There will be a helpline: 144 and the doors will be open three times a week between 08.00 – 17.00 and twice a week till 19.00. Business First will be occupying part of the old St Luke's Hospital premises. The service will be provided free of charge but all charges and fees related to applications and other which were already in place within the other departments are still applicable but no cash payments will be accepted.

Mr Camilleri also said that Government will guarantee the quality of the service through customer satisfaction surveys and the publishing of a scoreboard.

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