Chamber welcomes consistent Budget

Budget provides much needed continuity - Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce welcomed tonight's Budget, which it has strongly supported when originally presented in November, saying that it provided much needed continuity and direction for the country and the business community.

The Malta Chamber's support for the Budget stems primarily from the fact that it included a number of its own recommendations in the area of reducing the tax burden, enhancing job creation and training, encouraging alternative energy and promoting innovation and business start-ups.

But the Chamber said that the exemption of income tax on minimum wage earners had raised concern in that the imposition of income tax on minimum wage was being largely perceived as an anti-abuse safeguard rather than an anti-social measure. "The Chamber feels obliged to, once more, flag this concern as it could have negative repercussions on government revenues in subsequent years, if not adequately enforced."

The Chamber said that a number of corrections will be required in the 2014 Budget in view of the significant developments that happened between November 2012 and April 2013 and which could not be included in this Budget.

"This would have meant further delays. These included the increase in the number of Ministries and Parliamentary Secretariats from 13 to 23 and three new collective agreements for employees in public and parastatal entities. Besides, there was substantial government revenue lost from measures which were not actually introduced such as increases in excise taxes on fuels, cement and tobacco.

"Meanwhile, the decreased rates in income tax will still be implemented with retroactive effect from 1 January 2013 although - in these past months - this measure did not result in increased, tax-revenue generating, economic activity as they were not in place."