Street ven­dors turn Malta’s prime sites into Flea Mar­kets

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

GRTU Malta Cham­ber for SMEs and the Malta Ho­tels and Restau­rants As­so­ci­a­tion are con­cerned that any­one who wishes to start sell­ing any­thing to just set up a stall at a place of their choos­ing and start trad­ing. This is turn­ing even Malta’s Main Street, Repub­lic Street, into a flea market.

It seems that street ven­dors can set up their stalls in the best ar­eas, with­out any san­i­tary, health, safety or other stan­dards, in some cases only a few me­ters away from es­tab­lished out­lets who have to face a myr­iad of very costly reg­u­la­tions and other fees.

This dis­rup­tive and il­le­gal prac­tice is not be­ing ad­dressed ei­ther by cen­tral gov­ern­ment or lo­cal coun­cils. In­deed Lo­cal Coun­cils is­su­ing any per­mits that go be­yond those of the vil­lage feast are do­ing so abu­sively.

The Sliema mayor has also ap­pealed to the cause say­ing that the Sliema Lo­cal Coun­cil does not is­sue such per­mits be­cause legally they can­not and they are in­un­dated by com­plaints by the com­mer­cial com­mu­nity.

The Sliema mayor also said that the is­sue is one of lack of en­force­ment and the cases he en­coun­ters are ei­ther of in­di­vid­u­als not hav­ing per­mits or they have a street hawker’s per­mit, which per­mit is used out­side the strict pa­ram­e­ters that reg­u­late street hawk­ers, in­clud­ing dis­tance from other com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments.

Our en­ter­prises in­vest mil­lions of euros to make Malta an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion, a des­ti­na­tion of high cal­i­bre. Their in­vest­ment is be­ing de­val­ued by the ven­dors that oc­cupy our roads and lit­ter our prime sites abu­sively for their gain with­out the least con­sid­er­a­tion for the dam­age done to the coun­try and other law abid­ing busi­ness peo­ple.

The coun­try’s en­force­ment sys­tem con­tin­ues to fail us and bur­den the le­git­i­mate busi­nesses with in­spec­tions and heavy reg­u­la­tions whilst turn­ing a blind eye to the street traders trad­ing un­law­fully and turn­ing our is­land into one gi­gan­tic flea market.

GRTU and MHRA call in gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion now to re­move these street traders from our prime sites and en­sure they are ad­her­ing to reg­u­la­tions.

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