GRTU proposes removal of Enemalta’s monopoly to further reduce energy prices
The Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises has proposed opening up the possibility for the private sector to set-up micro generation independent from Enemalta – with the goal to increase competition and therefore reduce prices.
In a press conference addressed by GRTU President Paul Abela, CEO Abigail Psaila Mamo and head of the tourism and leisure sector Philip Fenech a number of pre-budget proposals were presented in relation to 10 separate areas.
Mr Abela slammed the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs authority, tasked with ensuring consumers’ rights are not being breached, for being “strong with the weak and weak with the strong.”
He called on the authority to investigate the price at which energy bought through the interconnector between Malta and Sicily is being sold to consumers.
He said that it is a fact that Italy has an excess capacity – therefore it is selling for lower prices, lower than what Maltese consumers are paying for.
Asked by how much the GRTU is proposing to reduce the price of energy, Mr Abela said that in the previous year, the union had suggested a 25 per cent decrease and this was completely ignored.
This year, he said, what is being proposed is the removal of Enemalta’s monopoly, so that the private players may enter the fold and prices would then regulate themselves through the market.
With regards increased competition and lower prices in the energy market, the GRTU is proposing the introduction of a second operator in the distribution of electricity to cater for the private sector and opening up possibilities for the private sector to set-up micro generation – independent from Enemalta.
It also proposed the interconnector between Sicily and Malta to be operated by a private player, the creation of financial incentives – guaranteed by the government – to create incentives for private businesses to invest in energy efficient systems and lastly the generation of a fun dedicated to research and development for the adaptation of technologies for the Maltese context.
“GRTU believes that a fund needs to be set up in order to develop technologies that are suitable to our climate and resources. Being such a small market no large investor will utilize their research resources on Malta so the local businesses would do this themselves with some help.
“The funds available from Malta Council for Science and Technology are both bureaucratic and having to include a Europe wide dimension diminishes the impact on Malta and complicates projects.”
In the area of pensions and selfemployed persons, the GRTU has proposed for government, through the Malta Financial Services Authority, to introduce an automatic enrolment scheme for self-employed persons and their staff.
Mr Abela said that often times when self-employed persons find out how much of a pension they will be earning, often seeking out that information very late in the day, many get a fright with how little they will be earning.
He explained that the automatic enrolment scheme should include a mandatory enrolment with voluntary opt out on setting up as a self employed individual and on the engagement of stuff. In addition to this, the contribution rate “should range between two per cent to four per cent for the selfemployed person and his staff”.
“The self-employed person is not obliged to pay a contribution to the pension of staff employed but would be incentivised €1 for €5 voluntarily paid by the enterprise owner,” reads the GRTU pre-budget document.
Ms Psaila Mamo spoke of redefining the crafts sector in Malta, by launching a crafts policy, create incentives to reduce the production costs for local crafts, launching of a quality assurance system and reducing VAT rate at five per cent for all locally produced crafts.
In addition to this, assistance for operation and the internationalisation, a stronger Malta Enterprise incentive for operators that will carry out construction works on their premises as part of the regeneration project and finally a marketing campaign to promote local crafts.
Other proposal policy areas include: making the audit of financial statements voluntary for micro and non-trading companies, compulsory membership for all enterprises with social partners and a partnership in favour of inclusion (partnership between GRTU, KNPD and the Planning Authority to help make private entities more accessible).
Partnering with the private sector to tangibly address growing human resource needs, boosting the retail sector through enhancements in our education system, lowering the cost to access to finance and a greater collective responsibility towards our environment were proposals also given prominence.