The Minister for Education and Employment, Hon Evarist Bartolo, and GRTU President Paul Abela have this week announced a scheme that would reimburse a number of retailers for their smart card (EPOS) machine which has become obsolete due to change in policy related to the system.
When the change in policy was announced, GRTU immediately made representations on behalf of its members. A meeting was held with the Minister whereby a process that would mitigate the negative effects of the
change in policy for retailers was initiated.
Numerous meetings were held to arrive to an understanding related to the reimbursement of the machines retailers have invested in to be part of the Smart Card system and be able to sell to students. The Ministry committed itself to partly reimburse the costs of machines purchased during 2013 at €300 and 2014 €400.
GRTU is currently in the process of compiling a proposal to be presented to the Minister as to how we feel the current new system can be improved in a manner that will not cost the exaggerated amount of money it was costing, it addresses the shortcomings that existed in the previous system, it provides for accountability of how the taxpayers’ money is being spent and that hopefully encourages spending in Maltese enterprises and not abroad.
GRTU expressed its agreement with the Minister that the previous system left much to be desired and GRTU had itself complained on multiple occasions that it was badly in need of a revision. The National Audit Office revealed even more damning results, beyond what GRTU was aware of and therefore GRTU agreed that the previous system was not a sustainable one and immediate drastic changes were needed. GRTU however did not agree with the new policy and was very pleased that the Minister immediately encouraged the GRTU to put forward its proposals on how the system can be improved.
The Ministry will be writing to those eligible for the refund in the coming days and following receipt of the letter these enterprises are to contact GRTU. In the meantime GRTU will also be presenting its proposal to the Ministry.