Fabian Demicoli

Self employed and small business owners under attack

 GRTU is extremely concerned that in spite of the Prime Ministers` friendly words and statements in favour of small businesses and in spite of the excellent words incorporated in Malta's Small Business Act proposal the whole public sector set-up is increasingly geared against small business owners.

 

The Ministry for finance to which the small business and self employed Parliamentary Secretary is attached is the one with the worst guilt conscience. Anyone who goes to the Courts on a regular basis will not fail to notice what is happening. In what the Ministry for Finance believes to be a clever ploy to convince Brussels Bureaucrats that Malta is doing sufficiently well in narrowing the public sector Budgetary deficit, as requested by the Commission under the new European Semester economic framework, the tax authorities of Malta have issued incredible demands on Maltese private entrepreneurs to pay up on what are termed as tax arrears. The demands made on individual enterprises, and demands that are juridically implementable, are beyond imagination. The sum total of these demands, that according to the judicial letters issues, are effectively and legally owing to Government, substantially reduce the Budget deficit.

But, GRTU asks, are these amounts really owing to Government? Is the Budget deficit falling as a result of these monies that according to Government are "owing"? Or is this just a ploy, as GRTU seriously believes, to convince Brussels, that all is well in the little state of Malta. Hundreds if not thousands of entrepreneurs are being dragged to court like criminals on claims that drive anyone with a poor cardiac condition strait to ICU. There was a time when the nationalist party in opposition made a tremendous fuss, instigated by GRTU, when the then socialist Government used a similar tactic. Many old GRTU members come to GRTU and ask us ironically the name of the finance Minister: "Is it Wistin Abela or Tonio Fenech?". This is the state we are in.

GRTU is facing daily problems on all fronts Petrol Station owners are being denied of their permanent licence. Petrol Station owners are being accused most unjustly of crimes of which there is no proof, except hearsay.

Gas distributors have arbitrarily been denied of their contractual rights and at the same time fuel bowser owners are denied their decent profit margins. Water bowser owners are being blamed of depletion of the water table when the real culprit is Government's own Water Corporation and a multiplicity of other major water suckers.

Waste carriers have for two years been waiting for a practical solution that enables them to invest in new trucks. The whole waste management operators await decisions that really make waste management compliance professional and economically viable. On Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment GRTU has been waiting for four years to have a clear indication from Government as to how to proceed.

Cargo hauliers are sick and tired waiting for a decision that affects proper arrangements for the parking of trailers and empty containers. Retailers and service providers in most localities face indecision connected to parking and traffic management.

The list is endless. The attitude of the public sector towards the self employed and the small business owners never change: Paroli Si Fatti No.

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