‘Stable budget in interest of financial consolidation and jobs’ says Malta Chamber

The Malta Chamber welcomed the 2013 Budget as “stable” and “in the interest of financial consolidation and jobs.”

Reacting to the 2013 budget, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said "the underlining priorities behind the 2013 Budget as being fiscal consolidation and job creation" and affirmed that it "fully supports these objectives and is encouraged by the fact that the 2013 Budget did not create economic shocks namely through increases in tax and utility rates."

The Chamber said that, "on the contrary, the announced reduction in income tax rates is in line with the Malta Chamber's consistent requests for reduced tax burdens in the economy," adding that the requests were made in the interest of both national competitiveness via lower pressure on wage demands and a boost in domestic disposable income. 

The Malta Chamber however said that it expects that "any projected shortfall from the lower tax rates will be neutralized by better efficiency in revenue collection from both income tax and VAT."

In this regard, the Chamber said it "looks forward to the implementation of the declared plans to amalgamate the tax departments in an effort to consolidate resources and enabling the proactive enforcement of safeguards against illegal economic activity."

Whilst the Malta Chamber expressed support for several budget measures, it remarked that there were a number of proposals it would also have liked to see included in the Speech, "primarily amongst these is the missed opportunity to address the COLA formula."

The Chamber insisted that such a revision is necessary to "complement Malta's competitiveness position" whilst being retained as an instrument to compensate workers for loss of disposable income due to inflation. 

The Chamber insisted that the COLA formula should incorporate a measure of productivity as has been already agreed within the pertinent MCESD working group last year.

The Malta Chamber also expressed disappointment at the absence of "a voluntary scheme for business, whereby operators could choose between variable energy rates or opt to fix their tariffs for a number of months ahead at a reasonable premium."

It added that, over the coming days, the Malta Chamber shall be following the 2013 Budget discussions in Parliament and augured "that there will be no actions which could lead to undue uncertainty" insisting that "this could prove to be costly for business and for Malta's economic and social objectives."

The only stable element in this year's (2013) budget is that Joseph Muscat has promised to retain the framework if he is elected.