29 AUGUST 2001

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Feeding a cuckoo
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Finding solutions to problems

Why is it that every problem we read about comes with no specific solutions.

We are referring to the accusation that the government is not doing enough to reduce its costs in the public sector and not changing its strategy on tax.

The two accusations are based on the premise that the economy has slowed down, or rather it has not picked up.

The constituted bodies are right about the public sector, but how should one act?

Perhaps we should call for more clarifications on the matter, should we expect that the workforce is trimmed.

Are the constituted willing to live through social and political strife?

Probably not.

For all their words when it comes to biting the bullet they are usually nowhere to be seen.

But then we have our strong views on the matter, we agree that the public sector should be more accountable for its actions.

The benchmarking exercise should be put into place and followed up with swift and determined actions.

The next issue is tax – the tax burden, as they love to call it. Or shall we call it the fight against tax evasion.

For all the talk about fighting tax, whenever steps are taken – even mild in nature, we are faced with a knee jerk from the constituted bodies.

When it comes to tax harmonisation, or better still an attempt to close in on tax evasion, individuals fuelled by the spin doctors talk of new tax incentives.

We do not favour new tax regimes but we are for a sustainable tax enforcement scheme that enables the state to retain a reasonable income.

If this does not succeed, the government, or any government, will be faced with a straight jacket scenario that will leave few options but to cook up new taxes.

The constituted bodies have an obligation to be mature and less impulsive in their demands and observations.

What steps to take at Maltacom?

The interim half-yearly financial report by Maltacom, Malta’s telecommunication national company is not good news, but the trend follows the chemistry in the telecommunication world market.

The decline in profits is linked to the instability of this sector and the global economic slow down.

The reaction abroad to this trend has been draconian.

We have seen severe cuts in workforce, some amounting to literally thousands of jobs per company.

The obligations to the shareholders in these companies has been without question.

In Maltacom’s case such a consideration is not on the books, it is not even actively considered due to union interference.

But it has to be considered for the future if the decline persists: if Maltacom wish to move ahead they must consider taking serious steps. The financial situation will also urge them to re-dimension their attitude when it comes to go Mobile.

The approach to dish out super cheap mobile contracts at all costs will have to slow down. It is only natural.

This could all be part of a brighter future for such a centrally placed company such as Maltacom. This is not the only way to compete with Vodafone, their main competitor.

Additionally, a view to revamping some of its operations may also have to be looked into. There is certainly a very high staff complement ratio in comparison to revenues and profit margins.

This could all be part of a brighter future for such a centrally placed company such as Maltacom.


The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt