Fabian Demicoli

Petrol Station Owners under pressure

 Unfortunately many top civil servants and heads of Authorities and State Corporations have not seen the Malta SBA Fact Sheet and the Report entitled "SMEs Under Pressure", both compiled by the Enterprise and Industry Directorate General of the European Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They would have been shocked to learn that Maltese Authorities rank among the least SME-friendly in the whole of the EU, and most of the blame lies squarely with the majority of these top Maltese public sector bureaucrats and some of their political masters. "It's a shame that their attitude to micro and small businesses gives Malta such a bad name" says Vince Farrugia GRTU Director General.

 The last group of SMEs, members of GRTU, to receive an uncalled for load of these bureaucrats' negativity are Petrol Station Owners. At the moment these small entrepreneurs are under tremendous pressure to find the necessary €26 million needed to bring their petrol stations up to the latest EU standards without drastically cutting further into the falling profitability of their enterprises and without loading consumers with price increases beyond what they already have to burden as fuel prices keep rising. The last thing they expect on top of this situation was an attack from Enemalta on their economic viability rather than assistance the EU is insisting they should be given, to meet the great challenge.

Yet incredibly rather than cooperation from Enemalta's Directors, so that acceptable solutions can be found to meet the challenges, Petrol Station owners have now abruptly been informed that Enemalta has decided to refuse to transfer to the Petrol Stations the centrally managed Fund in order to keep it in a Central Fund to manage and upgrade costs, instead putting the money aside to be received by station owners as part of their profit margins. Enemalta has not only frozen this income but has in addition decided to abandon all previous agreements with GRTU and in addition force Petrol Station Owners to accept a forced profit reduction on every litre of fuel purchased from Enemalta.

"If you don't like our prices, buy elsewhere" Enemalta told Petrol Station Owners when both Enemalta and MRA know very well that on Petrol Enemalta has a complete monopoly and on Diesel there's no alternative supplier that can supply all the stations. In addition, Enemalta is obliged at law to furnish the market.

GRTU has now referred the issue to the Minister of Finance as Enemalta Corporation is still 100% government owned. The alternative was an immediate closure of all petrol stations as Enemalta's impositions are impossible to accept.  "The pressure on Petrol Station owners is most unjust and absolutely uncalled for and unacceptable in the current circumstances" wrote Vince Farrugia on behalf of Petrol Station owners to the Ministry. "It is important that we find  solutions to this impasse without much ado as there is no industrial relations or business sense behind the action of Enemalta". For GRTU it is a great affront that SMEs are treated in this manner.

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