GRTU urges government to fund more SME schemes

GRTU says value added of small and micro enterprises in Malta can increase with immediate effect, to the benefit of Malta’s rate of GDP growth.

The Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprise (GRTU) published its proposals for the 2013 Budget during a press conference on Thursday morning.

"We have been in constant talks with the finance ministry for months and our aim is to have these proposals included in the 2013 Budget. Many of them will also be included in our forthcoming proposals which we will put forward to the political parties prior to the next election," GRTU secretary-general Vince Farrugia said.

The GRTU proposals centre around entrepreneurship, second chance, Think Small First, responsive administration, State aid and public procurement, access to finance, the single market, skills and innovations, the environment and internationalization.

Farrugia explained that "the GRTU believes that the value added of small and micro enterprises in Malta can increase with immediate effect, to the benefit of Malta's rate of GDP growth if in Budget 2013 Government funds more initiatives to support small and micro enterprise."

He said the financing of these schemes will be through increased revenue to Government resulting from growth in economic activity and increased employment and utilization of poorly utilised economic resources.

Emphasising the importance of the proposals Farrugia said: "GRTU expects Budget 2013 to highlight the growth of small and micro enterprises in Malta. The social and economic potential for employment and increased social and economic cohesion is great and should the majority of GRTU proposals be incorporated in Budget 2013, we see no reason why the rate of GDP growth projected to be only 1.6% for 2013 and 2.1% for 2014 should not at least reach the 3.5% annual growth enjoyed by Malta in the pre-recession period".

Among its demands, the GRTU is proposing additional school training in entrepreneurship and specialised schemes for unemployed persons, school leavers and employees seeking an alternative career in entrepreneurship to receive income for six months while receiving skills training.

The GRTU is also demanding that employment and investment support schemes for SMEs should be revisable and made permanent. It also said that "SMEs prefer a grant scheme to tax credits" and added that the two should compliment each other.

The chamber also explained that during the recent recession levels of employment in micro & small enterprises diminished due to restricted private consumption and in certain cases to over trading.

It said the lack of appropriate incentives cost a number of firms to reduce their activity or go out of business and since 2012 many small firms were seeking a second chance to come back to entrepreneurship or to change line of business.

Calling on government to give businesses a second chance, the GRTU said "A number of these firms are now re-emerging but the regulations as imposed by commercial banks and also by the managers of the various Government assistance schemes make it practically impossible for entrepreneurs who had fallen back on tax arrears and on payments of bank loans to successfully go through a second chance."

The GRTU also called on the government to reform existing legislation that excessively punishes entrepreneurs with threat of prison sentences, since fines still remain of a criminal nature and not Civil debts. It said this applies to a long list of legislation but more specifically to the VAT Act.

Removing the need of audits for the smallest companies and providing small businesses direct help when accessing projects through public procurement that makes up for their lack of resources, were also proposed by the GRTU.

Other proposals include the extension of renewable energy schemes, allowing change of use for vacant buildings, which can be used for back office work or for other activities of an economic value, campaigns to encourage women to participate in the labour market, stop taxing working pensioners on their pension, a reduction of 50% on tax payable on purchase to first time property buyers and creating new underground car parks in Valletta.

Luke Camilleri
U fuq SMl-S ta' Vince farrugia u l'affiljazzjoni taghhom mal PN, ma jghidu xejn?????
Luke Camilleri
U fuq SMl-S ta' Vince farrugia u l'affiljazzjoni taghhom mal PN, ma jghidu xejn?????