SME Chamber participated during a conference by the Malta Sustainability Forum organised by APS Bank
17 November 2022
The discussion focused on the Voluntary Occupational Retirement Pension SME Chamber Vice President, Michael Galea,...
Policies that aim to master the current economic and financial crises and to support a recovery of Europe's economy must be placed at the centre stage of the of the Cabinet of Ministers.
The strengthening of the SME sector is key in the economic recovery. Work has already started however implementation is slow. With the European Small Business Act (SBA), launched during the French Presidency, the European Institutions have finally recognised Small and Medium Businesses` central role. Now we have to start thinking of effects, the SBA will only have positive effects if the commitments made with the SBA are fulfilled at European, national and local level. The Maltese Government has to grab the chance now that the policy is still fresh to focus on its implementation – but to do so, it will have to tackle the real needs of the Crafts and SME sector.
There are four pillars on which the Maltese legislature needs to focus on:
The current and ongoing financial turmoil has significant negative effects on access to finance for SMEs with credits and loans becoming more difficult to obtain. A decrease in economic activity due to lack of finance must be avoided at all costs. The Maltese Government must do its share in re-stabilising financial markets by:
The recovery must be supported by policies which aim to bring back confidence to all economic actors and to stabilise economic demand, without endangering fiscal stability in the long run. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers must contribute to a policy mix, which:
Smaller businesses have been so far more reluctant to lay off workers compared to larger enterprises. However, small enterprises have specific problems as regards labour market regulations, access to social benefit systems and access to training, which they cannot solve alone. Therefore, Government must support employment in SMEs by:
The European Small Business Act provides the principles for an effective policy in line with the needs of small enterprises and an encompassing catalogue of concrete measures to be taken at all levels to improve the business environment and to give SMEs enough space to breathe.
A key contribution for achieving an SME-friendly environment is a change in the perception of the role of entrepreneurs and risk-taking: entrepreneurship and the associated willingness to take risk should be applauded by political leaders and the media, and supported by administrations. This means at least respecting the voluntary nature of Corporate Social Responsibility for instance. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers must act to fulfil the commitments made in the framework of the Small Business Act and to implement the announced principles and actions – the sooner, the better:
The programme of 25% until 2012 will only be successful if all European Institutions and the Member States increase their implementation efforts and if other burdens will not be created in the meantime. The actual standards in the fields of environment, health and safety, consumer protection and others create too often high administrative burdens and compliance costs, especially for smaller companies.
Therefore, the proportionality principle should be applied as a basic rule whenever SME policy is concerned. This principle means that SMEs should be treated differently according to the level of dangerousness and risks they may impact.
The needs and particularities of SMEs have to be taken compulsorily into account in all relevant policies, programmes and negotiations at EU and national level. Furthermore, the current economic crisis must lead to a review of all pending legislation that may put unnecessary burdens on small enterprises. Policy projects that were started in good economic times must therefore be re-assessed and checked against the new reality. Therefore, the Prime Minister must push these principles among the Cabinet of Ministers to review and reassess the following pending pieces of legislation, which may be especially burdensome for SMEs:
The Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7,000 members from over 90 different sectors which in their majority are either small or medium sized companies, and such issues like the one we're experiencing right now, it's important to be united. Malta Chamber of SMEs offers a number of different services tailored to its members' individual requirements' and necessities. These range from general services offered to all members to more individual & bespoke services catered for specific requirements.
A membership with Malta Chamber of SMEs will guarantee that you are constantly updated and informed with different opportunities which will directly benefit your business and help you grow. It also entails you to a number of services which in their majority are free of charge and offered exclusively to its members (in their majority all free of charge).