Fabian Demicoli

Sub-Contracting in Public Contracts:The Way forward: Quality Standards and Approved Skills

GRTU
Malta Chamber of SMEs has always stressed in all its presentations to Government,
on behalf of small and micro businesses, that the way forward on public
contracts is quality standards and approved skills.

The problems with most
public contracts are twofold: The public sector pays very little on public
contracts for cleaning, security, health care, etc. The same goes for most
construction projects. Government does not insist on quality standards of
services or where it does, it fails to enforce.

Similarly,
skills standards are never ever enforced. The end result is that contractors do
their best to deliver a service within the bounds of the limited funds
available. The basic truth is that contracts that aim at high quality standards
of services through the engagements of approved standards and appropriately
skilled personnel are very expensive.

The
truth is that if Government wants to safeguard the community from abusive
standards, Government must be willing to pay more. The Government strategy to
cut out the self-employed and small businesses from all sub-contracting is in,
GRTU's view, completely wrong and an insult to qualified and hardworking
self-employed and small business providers.

This
strategy is particularly bad for Gozitan micro and small businesses whose main
participation in major Malta Government contracts is through sub-contracting.
Most Gozitan micro business owners do not even dream of becoming paid employees
of major Maltese contractors. It is even cruel for anyone to create a situation
where micro business owners are forced to become employees of other contractors.

GRTU
urges Government to reverse this malicious strategy before it results in a
sharp increase in registered unemployment. The option Government is giving to
many self-employed depending on Government contracts is to close business and
register for work. A double punishment as it is in the nature of the
self-employed to be free and not to be forced to seek salaried employment. GRTU
still believes that reason ought to prevail and that Government will change
their dangerous strategy.

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