12 DECEMBER 2001

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Public sector irks businessmen

By Marika Azzopardi

Inefficiencies in the public sector and in local councils were two of the gripes mentioned by businesses and listed in the second edition of the ‘Regulatory Constraints on SME’s and the Self-employed’ which was presented yesterday by Edwin Vassallo, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Economic Services.
This report which is the second one being published this year, takes account of the period May - October 2001 and highlights the kind of complaints received by the Small Business Unit.
These complaints open a window on the situation which local entrepreneurs are facing in their daily work. Moreover they show clearly which issues require immediate attention by the Commerce Division of the Ministry.
Following these complaints, the division takes it upon itself to liase with various departmental bodies and ministries in order to deal with inefficiencies.
"Inefficiencies cost money," said Mr Vassallo, "and in the long run one must consider the fact that Malta’s efficiency in running its public services must compare well with other countries." In fact with an eventual accession to the EU, Maltese services would be regularly audited by EU representatives with the aim of placing all EU members on the same level of efficiency.
The parliamentary secretary encouraged local entrepreneurs to inform the Commerce Division about any inefficiencies experienced in order to help increase awareness of them.
"The more complaints we receive, the more conscious we shall be of present issues which need attention. We are aware that one complaint may be representing several other businessmen who are experiencing the same situation. We are not afraid to declare that our country has these inefficiencies. It is the only way to find solutions," he said.
Complaints reported are listed, together with the relevant action taken or being taken, since the process to solve some inefficiencies requires the amendment of certain laws. The variety of complaints spans from inefficiencies in some local councils to others linked to governmental departments.

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