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pr200065en

PR200065en

20/01/2020

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY, INVESTMENT AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR EUROPEAN FUNDS

‘‘My main priority as Minister will be that of constantly listening to SMEs’ needs and concerns, thus I welcome the GRTU’s proactive and courageous stance in becoming the Malta Chamber of SMEs. It is us who will go and meet the businesses, and not the other way around,’’ – Minister Silvio Schembri 

“I encourage the Malta Chamber of SMEs and similar organisations in Malta to prepare themselves for when the European Union implements new measures in relation to what is being proposed with regards to the Green Deal, the Single Market and the Digital Single Market’ – Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi 

Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri and the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi addressed the GRTU’s conference entitled ‘New Identity- 2020 Launch’, during which the GRTU launched its rebranding initiative, so as to now be known as the Malta Chamber of SMEs.

Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri reiterated his commitment to sustain SMEs as a crucial backbone for Malta’s economic growth. “My main priority as Minister will be that of constantly listening to SMEs’ needs and concerns, thus I welcome the GRTU’s proactive and courageous stance in becoming the Malta Chamber of SMEs. This stance mirrors GRTU’s, now to be known as the Malta Chamber of SMEs, pledge to adapt with the changes and the challenges the market is bringing about. It is us who will go and meet the businesses, and not the other way around,” said Minister Schembri. 

Minister Silvio Schembri noted that official data shows that the contribution of Maltese businesses towards the economy was close to half of the total added value. “In view of the fact that the Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7000 businesses, this poses certain pressures on the organization to go the extra mile and find ways to ease the pressure businesses encounter. Hence, I welcome the series of initiatives and services that will be launched during 2020, many of them specializing in assistance for businesses, and exposure to new technologies, amongst others. Most importantly, through this journey, this government will be a constant presence in order to understand your needs and challenges, and identify the best way forward in everyone’s best interest,” said Minister Schembri.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi encouraged the Malta Chamber of SMEs and similar organisations in Malta to prepare themselves for next year, when the European Union’s new budget for the period 2021-2027 will start being implemented. Members of local organisations should be prepared for the changes as a result of the proposed Green Deal, the Single Market and the proposed Digital Single Market.

Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi referred to the current state of negotiations within the European Union on the next Budget, in the context of the exit of the United Kingdom within the next few days. Malta is putting forward a clear position that every single member country gets a fair deal with regards to the European funds that will become available to member states.

Paul Abela, the President of the Malta Chamber of SMEs, said that the rebranding initiative was a natural step forward. The change in name reflects a sense of advancement, as well as a better means for the Chamber of SMEs to communicate its work with its members. “It is with a sense of duty to renew ourselves and adapt with the changes brought about,” said Mr Abela. 

Abigail Mamo, the Chief Executive Officer of Malta Chamber of SMEs, gave a detailed presentation on the GRTU’s journey in order to arrive to where it is today. “70 years ago, the GRTU started off as a retailers’ union by a small group of retailers. The GRTU continued to grow over the years and strengthened the services it provided and beyond. The rebranding initiative provided a great opportunity to raise the bar for social dialogue and provide better services to who we represent. This permitted the Malta Chamber of SMEs to make good use of the EU funds, which made it possible to carry out a study on its perception and what people except of it, engage experts and raise awareness – a study which involved several stakeholders and the general public,” said Ms Mamo, whilst adding that this has presented the opportunity to build on past successes.