SME Chamber

Malta’s Economic Future

GRTU President Paul Abela and GRTU Deputy President Philip Fenech attended this week’s business breakfast organised by The Malta Business weekly which was addressed by Opposition leader Dr Simon Busuttil.

During his speech Dr Busuttil mentioned that in the harsh international economic recession, Malta’s economy consistently registers the best economic growth rates along with Germany. For this to continue it is essential that businesses continue to compete and invest to get new customers. This will also allow the country to preserve its social model which combines Malta’s economic growth with the living standards and work conditions of the Maltese people.

On this matter GRTU President Paul Abela commented that the economy is still growing due to the fact that it is based on solid foundations, which did not occur in the last 2 years alone. This growth was nurtured due to the development in certain sectors such as the financial, gaming, aviation and the tourism industry. GRTU hopes that we will continue to register growth in the future, as only through growth can we create jobs and improve our living standards.

Mr Abela continued by stating that GRTU has been calling on the Authorities to address the problem of Access to finance for Small businesses. It is of concern that the Central Bank reported that in the previous year they witnessed a decline in lending to SMEs. Another problem that must be tackled is the high interest rates and bank charges that our banks are charging to local businesses. This is unacceptable due to the fact that the European Central Bank lending is 0.05 per cent and in Malta it is between 4 to 6 per cent. GRTU hopes that good reasoning will prevail, and the formation of the Development Bank and the SME initiative will also solve part of these problems.

Another issue mentioned by Mr Abela is the rent law which was passed in the past with both parties agreed to this law. GRTU feels that this law is harming family businesses and if it is not addressed and amended this could lead to Malta   losing most of the small business that will have their rents terminated by law.

GRTU President Paul Abela concluded his intervention by providing the results of GRTU retail survey which was launched earlier this year which highlighted that retail trade is decreasing. This can be due mainly to the results that online shopping is increasing more than 25 per cent. We do not suggest that this trend should be stopped but on the contrary we are trying to convince our members to better equip themselves by offering and investing in this service. It is also evident that the retail sector is being affected by unfair competition entering our island through imports by sea from Italy. GRTU has continuously urged the Government to intervene, and put in place a system that imposes the payment of the same taxes and obligations our members have to pay.






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