Fabian Demicoli

Malta Chamber of SMEs welcomes pledge to address compliance and banking bottlenecks for SMEs

The Malta Chamber of SMEs believes that the implementation phase of these proposals is key in order to achieve the desired results

The immense bureaucratic burden and impossible situations businesses have been facing in relation to access to banking services and compliance have only become more serious and counterproductive over the last years.

The Malta Chamber of SMEs has been highlighting its concern on the situation and how this was harming businesses and our economy. The SME Chamber was never against putting in place the required checks and balances. Over-regulation and burdening SMEs with the inability to work and waste of precious resources was never the answer, or a solution to any problem our country was facing. Access to banking services and the issue of the repetition of compliance exercises were main budget proposals from the side of the Malta Chamber of SMEs and we are therefore pleased to see them being taken up.

Apart from this, the SME Chamber also asked the government to intervene to protect corporate bank clients from the abuse of dominant position, from unfair treatment and the imposition of unjustified costs and charges. The SME Chamber still believes that while the cost of banking services is increasing exponentially, the quality of the service is not only not being elevated at par but continues going down in quality. Therefore, while paying much more for basic banking functions, SMEs are many times greatly unhappy with the level of service being given by the major banks. Regulatory surveillance and protection in this area is evidently missing.

The commitment made yesterday by the Prime Minister to give access to banking services to all businesses and centralise all compliance efforts across the country are greatly welcome. The Malta Chamber of SMEs also notes the positive remarks of the Leader of the Opposition in this regard. The Prime Minister’s commitment initiates a principle and a very important step to address Malta’s failures in the banking sector and give businesses guaranteed banking support.

The Prime Minister is also confirming that the compliance burden on businesses will not be removed but will be alleviated, as it should be. The Malta Chamber of SMEs believes that the implementation phase of these proposals is key in order to achieve the desired results.

The SME Chamber will continue supporting the business community and those implementing these important steps throughout this phase and will also continue working to have a healthy banking sector in Malta.

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