Sicilian competition features in pre-budget discussions

DOI - Pierre Sammut

Competition faced by Maltese companies was the main card on the table in pre-budget discussions held between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the top brass of GRTU. PM Muscat expressed the opinion that Maltese companies were facing unfair competition because of possible contraband coming through from Sicily.

GRTU, the chamber for small and medium-sized enterprises, expressed considerable concern at what it described as unfair competition coming from Sicily. It proposed that modern scanning equipment used by Customs is used also to scan imports from Sicily. On this point, Prime Minister Muscat pointed out that, while certain controls are possible, EU regulation prohibits extensive border controls.

Muscat said that the forthcoming budget is a continuation of the pre-2017 election proposals. He said that, in spite of this aspect of continuity, the government remained open to proposals and suggestions.

GRTU proposed that income tax is lowered to 20% for medium-sized enterprises, a proposal which the minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna considered as risky as it would affect the current competitive tax regimen in Malta. Finally, GRTU proposed also that the tax on the transfer of companies between family members is reduced.