Fabian Demicoli

Small Business Act:GRTU meets Hon Jason Azzopardi

GRTU has today welcomed Hon Jason Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Businesses and Lands, following an invite by the National Executive Council to present the Small Business Act. Hon Azzopardi was accompanied by Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Alfred Camilleri.

 

GRTU's President Paul Abela emphasised how important the private sector is and we regret to see such a negative bias against the private sector. GRTU's Director General stated that the GRTU considers Hon Azzopardi to be ours, the advocate of the private sector in the world of Government. He continued saying that the private sector does not want subsidies but we don't want any more burdens. Therefore the Small Business Act (SBA) is a very important doc for us.

Hon Azzopardi thanked the GRTU for the opportunity and this is the second formal meeting with the GRTU and stated that he looks forward to more regular meetings. Hon Azzopardi  made reference to President Paul Abela's comment that there is prejudice against the private sector within the public sector and he admitted it is a problem and he is fighting against it and if there is nothing in the SBA, it should be commended as sets the scene for a cultural change in this respect. There is however a determination from Government to combat the bias and introduce the mental change.

Hon Azzopardi stated that the Micro Credit Scheme is to the credit of GRTU. BOV has already approved 30 applications with the value of €4.1m. 300 other applications are to be processed with a total value of €20m.

Hon Azzopardi made reference to the white paper launched yesterday for consultation in relation to the street markets. He outlined that it took great courage to initiate this kind of policy. It will not change the world but it will make a difference, differences which are important for retailers.

On the SBA Hon Azzopardi mentioned 5 important points which will change the way businesses are treated by the public sector:

  • In the original draft there was no reference to the European Charter for Small Enterprises and now there is a specific reference. The Charter is a self-commitment from the Member States to improve the business environment for small enterprises
  • For the first time there is a standstill period of 2 months before compliance with a new law
  • Guidelines in the legal notice that explain the law in layman terms for the users
  • Everything would be available online. The one stop shop in Malta Enterprise will be launched very shortly by the Minister.
  • SME Impact Assessment: All laws must be tested against this. The Prime Minister will not accept any legal notice without it. The Economic Policy Division will be beefed up and will have the task of implementing this.

In addition to this Hon Azzopardi stated that he was invited by Commissioner Tajani to make a presentation on the Malta Small Business Act as a best practice.

Mr Farrugia stated that a there should be more than just a reference to the European Charter Government has to see what Malta as a country has not yet adopted from it. Especially the issue of 2nd and 3rd chance.

Mr Farrugia stated his disappointment that he learned certain very important information today  which GRTU should have been informed about earlier. He said that it is horrible how detached this Government is from the constituted bodies.

In conclusion Mr Farrugia said that we have no doubt that the law is good but the implementation is still to be seen. There were many good Government initiatives over the years but implementation was always very poor.

GRTU Council members were also given the opportunity to voice their thoughts to the Parliamentary Secretary. GRTU also took this opportunity to thank Mr Alfred Camilleri who is a first class and reasonable civil servant and takes issues concerning the well being enterprises seriously.

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