Budget 2015 | Eco tax out, lower deficit and new tax rebates

Removal of the eco-contribution will be welcomed by the small business chamber GRTU, which has called on the government to review the obligation of businesses to pay the eco-contribution

Finance minister Edward Scicluna (Photo Ray Attard)
Finance minister Edward Scicluna (Photo Ray Attard)

A private-public initiative is expected to be launched in tomorrow’s Budget to address hospital waiting lists, by entering in agreements with private medical professionals at Mater Dei Hospital.

Sources have told MaltaToday that Medical Plus Malta, a company formed in late September under the auspices of the health and energy ministry, will also attract medical tourism to Mater Dei Hospital.

Tomorrow’s Budget - in which finance minister Edward Scicluna will announce a deficit lower than 2% of GDP due to improved targets - will also announce the removal of the much-maligned eco-contribution for electronic and white goods by September 2015.

The measure was introduced in 2004 for businesses to pay for packaging that ends up as waste. Businesses often complained that the costs of the packaging waste tax were passed on to the consumer.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna will argue tomorrow that savings on the eco-contribution, which will generate almost €8 million in government revenues in 2014 alone, will benefit consumers.

The government will also announce a consultation process for the transition period, arguing that some aspects of the eco-contribution were an obstacle to business.

The removal of the eco-contribution will be welcomed by the small business chamber GRTU, which has called on the government to review the obligation of businesses to pay the eco-contribution. “We want government to keep its promise of avoiding putting honest businesses at a disadvantage,” the GRTU said on Friday.

Another measure that will be announced is an incentive for companies to employ 2% of their workforce from among individuals with a disability. The legal obligation has actually been in place since 1967 but has not been respected – it applies to companies which employ more than 20 people.

Tax incentives will now be offered to those companies which employ disabled individuals.  The tax credit will not exceed more than €4,500 per individual.

Those companies which fail to employ the quota requested will be required to make a contribution of €2,500 per person not employed, capped at €10,000 per company.

More in Budget 2015