Abigail Psaila Mamo, CEO of the Chamber of SMEs (GRTU)
“The competitiveness of our businesses is something government must safeguard. Unfortunately, running costs are always on the increase and this negatively impacts the profitability of our enterprises and how competitive they are. Human resources is also a major challenge because as much as businesses want to work and invest they cannot do this if they do not have the man power they need to address this. GRTU would therefore like to see its proposals to reduce the burden and costs of audits on micro companies, electricity for the private sector and the cost and difficulty of accessing finance. In addition, GRTU would like to see the human resources crises addressed in a tangible manner.”
Asked to name a proposal by another social partner, the GRTU CEO referred to the MEA’s proposal on the setting-off between government departments. “It is common for companies to be owed money from one government department while having outstanding payments themselves with other government departments. This causes a strain on the cash flow of many companies who are, in some instances, charged interest and penalties on outstanding payments, and at times even face criminal proceedings.”
Turning to the subject of traffic, Mrs Psaila Mamo said one of the GRTU’s proposals is private collective transport, which includes free transport for all schools, organized transport for all government employees and the immediate outlay of incentives for employers to organise private collective transport for their own workers.
The GRTU CEO said another proposal was an enforcement overhaul. “Enforcement Overhaul – Wardens and TM officers need to be brought hand-in-hand with traffic police. The aim of giving out fines needs to be completely and irreversibly replaced with coordinating and assisting traffic at all times but more surely during peak traffic.”
She also suggested a change in attitude for public works and closures, the immediate conversion of certain underutilized areas as park-and-ride zones (such as the Gżira stadium) and a shift towards staggering work hours.