A Budget that extends the safety-net for Businesses, more tax incentives should follow to enable new investments
19 October 2020
Budget 2021 The Malta Chamber of SMEs is pleased to see a number of its...
The GRTU generally welcomes the changes being introduced by the revision of the Trade Licensing Act. The Trade Licensing Act is being revised following analysis with the aim to simplify existing procedures, making the process less time consuming, closing any loop holes in the existing law and further clarifying its application
The GRTU in particular made the following observations:
1. The most important revision is that we will be moving away from the requirement of submitting applications for a trade license for most sectors. This means that the sectors that are not connected with health or food shall no longer need to apply but simply notify the Department. With the notification one will be able to pay immediately instead of waiting for the acknowledgement. This should further accelerate the process.
2. The list of sectors and activities falling under the scope of the Department will be clarified. The requirement to submit a full MEPA permit will be waived and replaced by the requirement to only provide the MEPA permit number.
3. The commitment to issue a license within 10 days is welcomed. Cancellation of license will also be simplified however it is imperative for the fees and arrears to be paid. In addition the revision would introduce the concept that licenses are automatically renewable subject to the conditions of the license being respected.
4. The GRTU nonetheless wishes a clarification on the topic of ad hoc operators of stalls and kiosks as provided in Article 4A (2) (c). The GRTU emphasizes that a lacuna already exists in the Local Councils Act regarding the permit (or otherwise) required by such operators. It condemns illegal operators of kiosks and stalls who enter unfair competition with trade license holders during the most crucial periods (festivities, local feasts etc). The GRTU proposes that applications for these temporary stalls and kiosks are regulated by ad hoc legislation in order to iron out the differences which currently exist between the Local Councils Act, the Trade Licences Act and the amendments being proposed to the Trade Licences Act. The GRTU will not condone any such stalls/kiosks operators obtaining temporary permits who are blatently in breech of existing legislation, particularly those which adversely affect existing fixed traders and retailers.
5. This includes stalls/kiosks operators not having a trading licence; as well as the unecessary breach of the 50 metre rule, particularly in the case of applicants who are in competition with existing traders and retailers in the immediate vicinity. To this effect the GRTU proposes that an impartial and independent Board or Committee is set up in order to process applications for such temporary permits to avoid repeat occurances of the past years.
6. The current legislation provides for a variety of licence fees according to the size of the premises, in case of manufacturing activities and premises having a footprint over 800mts the license fee is calculated as 5% of the rental of the premises used. This leads to exorbitant fees in some cases and is discriminatory against small manufacturing premises, since while their fee is based on rent that of others of the same premises size, who are not manufacturers, is based on square meters. GRTU is therefore pleased that the licences will be capped.
The GRTU takes the opportunity to remind all businesses that all economic operations require a trade license to operate.
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