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 GRTU Director General, Vincent Farrugia, criticised Budget 2009 as being too short on SMEs. Mr Farrugia said that it is fallacious for Government to continue to finance simply through current account revenue.

The Economic situation Malta is facing is the result of exceptional circumstances in our leading markets over-seas and the financing to sustain inactive packages for the economy to continue to grow should have been sought through extraordinary financial means.

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 GRTU has already presented its proposal, based on facts, case studies and consultation with members.  Unfortunately, this cannot be said for the way the White Paper was drawn up.  This White Paper is a big disappointment for GRTU especially at a time when the European Union is implementing the Small Business Act aimed primarily at issues safeguarding the interests of small enterprises in relation to other economic factors that hamper their growth and development, which gives major importance to enterprises and the emphasis of each Directive is built on the "think small first principle".

The 1995 reform gave Malta the most liberal rent law in the whole of the EU. Today however, while other Member States fought first and foremost to safeguard the interests of enterprise owners, thus recognising that security of tenure is important for the encouragement of entrepreneurship and the generation of productive work, the Maltese Government accepted that the rights of property owners are superior to those of investors in enterprise whether commercial, craft, services or manufacturing.

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It is GRTU's pleasure to inform all pharmacy owners that following representations made by GRTU on Thursday 23rd October 2008 with the Medicines Authority, and earlier on yesterday, the Medicines Authority has just informed GRTU that it will be accepting a declaration made by the licensee as regards the retail area of the Pharmacy.

There is no need for anyone to engage the services of an architect to certify the floor area of the pharmacy. This means that pharmacies will be benefiting from a substantial reduction in pharmacy license fees which issue has been negotiated to a successful conclusion solely by GRTU. A letter confirming this agreement will be sent from the Medicines Authority to this effect will be sent in due course.

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 We would like to draw your attention to the issue of rechargeable batteries which have recently been recalled in the United States by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Coby Electronics Corp.

According to the recall alert the affected products pose a risk of fire due to possible overheating of the rechargeable batteries. Four incidents have been reported.

The company informed that the recall involves batteries with serial numbers listed below sold with the TF-DVD 1020 portable DVD/CD/MP3 players. The battery's serial number can be found on a white sticker affixed to it. The product looks like a small laptop computer and has a 10" swivel TV screen. "COBY" is written on the front cover and under the screen. "TF-DVD 1020" can be found on the bottom of the unit.

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GRTU's Director General, Vincent Farrugia, addressed the European Conference for Crafts and Small Enterprises, organized by the French Presidency of the European Council and led by the French Minister for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet. 

Mr Farrugia emphasized the importance of the European Commission coming up urgently with an assistance programme for small enterprises so that they are not rendered helpless under the problems faced when Europe goes into an economic recession. 

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