[Watch] GRTU calls for second energy operator to end Enemalta monopoly

Chamber of SMEs calls on consumer watchdog to review methodology used for determining cost of electricity

GRTU President Paul Abela during this afternoon's meeting
GRTU President Paul Abela during this afternoon's meeting
CEO Abigal Psaila Mamo on the GRTU's budget priorities

GRTU has called for the introduction of a second energy operator as part of a set of proposals aimed at lowering electricity prices for businesses. Other proposals with the same aim include opening up the possibility for the private sector to set-up micro generation independent from Enemalta and allowing the interconnector to be operated by another private player.

GRTU President Paul Abela also said that energy tariffs need to go down and suggested that the “introduction of a second player would ensure that tariffs adjust themselves.” He also called on the MCCAA to review what the actual cost of electricity generation is and to ensure that current tariffs reflect the actual costs involved.

 “Shouldn’t the MCCAA be looking into what the cost of generation of electricity is? The MCCAA is constantly helping consumers and will help them get faulty items changed but then it does not go after the big boys.”

The union is also proposing the removal of audit requirements on micro enterprises and non-trading companies, a measure the union claims would help small businesses, without increasing government's costs.

“The government has, as yet, failed to accept an EU directive which reflects this proposal. There are 45,000 small enterprises in Malta: if 40% opt out of an audit, we would have removed a burden of €18 million.”

The GRTU said that while alot has been done to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, more should be done. It proposed that a financial incentive scheme is set up to support enterprises in their efforts to make commercial premises more accessible. "In addition to this, a fast track, free-of-charge application process with the Planning Authority should be available to companies wishing to make these alterations."

While the retail sector makes up a big chunk of the Maltese economy, very few people receive the correct training and qualifications to work in this sector and this is part of the reason that wages remain so low, the GRTU said. It went on to propose the setting up of "a retail school"

“Such a school with go a long way in recognising the skills of people working in the industry and would allow people to have something to show for a career in the retail industry,” said CEO Abigail Psaila Mamo.

On the issue of pensions, GRTU is proposing that the government, through the Malta Financial Services Authority, introduces an automatic enrollment scheme, with a voluntary opt out, for self-employed persons and their staff.

Among the environmental proposals put forward by union is a proposal for the government to introduce incentives for businesses and the general public to separate their waste. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the government should also introduce a different coloured waste disposal bag for commercial establishments as well as tax incentives and lower fees for businesses that follow positive environmental practices.

More in Budget 2017