GRTU has had the opportunity to present its priorities for Budget 2015 on numerous occasions at MCESD and directly with a number of Ministers. Unfortunately we received mixed messages on what actually might happen, which leaves us feeling uneasy.
GRTU has put in all the efforts and pressure possible to lobby for what it believes Maltese SMEs are in need of. The only thing that we can do now is wait patiently till next Monday to see whether the message has been delivered and if not decide on the action that needs to be taken.
We want to see results and decisive action that addresses the problems we have been strongly highlighting, which have been driving bona fide Maltese enterprises out of business. GRTU is not requesting rash action but it is expecting the Government to take courageous decisions and stand for what it believes in. A year ago Government promised us action in its Budget 2014 speech and so far nothing has materialised.
Removing the Eco-Tax
We want Government to keep its promise of avoiding putting honest businesses at a disadvantage. The status quo will no longer be tolerated. GRTU suggested abolishing the Eco Tax in its totality and in its stead implementing the WEEE Directive, which is an EU Directive very similar in scope to the Eco Tax. The Directive should be implemented in the same way it is implemented in other Member States to ensure a level playing field. It is pertinent to note that Malta has already been given a number of infringements in relation to the WEEE Directive and leaving it on the shelf is no longer an option. The single issue that appears to be holding the Government back from total abolition is the €8 Million that Government derives from this tax.
Cost of finance
Government promised us it would examine the situation, a year ago, and see whether there is room for corrective action. We have so far been failed by our regulators, the MFSA and the MCCAA. Even the regulators seem powerless when it comes to the banks. The regulators are our only hope for justice. GRTU as the prime interested party is not aware what advancements and what results have been extrapolated. A whole year that should have been used to collect and analyse has so far not reaped any results.
Licenses for commercial vehicles
GRTU has called on Government to retract on the increases imposed on licenses of Commercial vehicles. The increase was announced by the previous Government in Budget 2009 and entered into force by the present Government in Budget 2014. Neither Government felt the need to consult the main stakeholders or carry an economic impact assessment to see how increases in commercial licences ranging from 33% to 344% will affect the private sector. GRTU members have reported very negative effects and no one wants to take responsibility.