The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry (MCCEI), in its post-budget reaction, warned that the manner in which the utility tariffs’ issue has been handled has created uncertainty.
“This may unnecessarily dampen local economic momentum,” MCCEI President Helga Ellul insisted. “In this sense, it would have been better had the matter been clarified before next January,” she added.
The Chamber had welcomed “a firm commitment” in this Budget to stimulate investment and support companies – both large and small.
“This approach is welcomed as a follow-up to the targeted support measures that have been granted since the beginning of the year. The Malta Chamber believes that to create more jobs, the country must encourage employers to do so,” the MCCEI said.
However, within the ambit of pre-Budget consultations, the Malta Chamber expressed its disappointment “that the social partners could not agree on a set of labour flexibility and other measures that could be introduced to mitigate the effect of COLA on employers’ labour costs”. “Consequently, the Budget Speech lacks measures necessary to justify the salary increase from a performance/productivity point of view,” the MCCEI warned. Nevertheless, the Malta Chamber welcomed the support to SMEs in terms of a €10m allocation for microcredits and and a 40 per cent tax credits on new investment, rising to 60 per cent in the case of Gozo
Besides, the Chamber also welcomed the increased budget allocated to Malta Enterprise “with which the Chamber works very closely for the benefit of its members even in the field of Internationalisation”.
The MCCEI also recognized “the drive towards enhanced efficiency” in tax collection with the announced consolidation of the Inland Revenue, Value Added Tax and Customs Department. “This measure should create enforcement synergies and permit payment set-offs,” the MCCEI explained.
The Chamber augured that this integration was completed “within reasonable time” to ensure a seamless transition in terms of payments from the public to the private sector.
In terms of employment and training, it is positive to note that the announced increase in ETC budget.
The MCCEI also welcomed “the renewed commitment” for the payment of refunds and exemptions from Eco-Contribution. “The announced LNs are well overdue and are urgently required to restore fair competition amongst all market operators to the benefit of business and the consumer alike,” the MCCEI insisted.