16 February 2005

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Commercial activity maintains good rhythm – Edwin Vassallo
“During 2004, the Trade Licensing Unit received 1,958 applications for trading licenses and issued 1,609 licences for commercial activities. This is an increase on the number of licenses processed the previous year,” Competitiveness Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Edwin Vassallo said on Friday when giving a break down of the Unit’s latest figures.
Vassallo cites “positive market indications, and it appears that the commercial activity is maintaining a good rhythm. In the coming year we are expecting the commercial activity to increase, also thanks to a predicted increase in the number of tourists. Let us not forget that this sector is one that created 1,729 new jobs during the past year, and it is a sector that is continuously sustaining economic activity in Malta”.
“In 2003, the Trade Licensing Unit had received 1,772 applications for trading licenses, of which 1336 were processed and issued, he adds. “This means that in 2004 the TLU processed 273 more trading licences than the previous year. The Unit received 186 more applications and issued 40 licences for new commercial activities more than the year before.”
Vassallo explains how “The information that is being given refers to wholesale and retail commercial activities, as well as manufacturing and services that require a license from the Trade Licensing Unit, and not for those activities and services that require a license from other Authorities.
“At a first glance, these statistics show that during the year 2004, the TLU received 186 more applications and issued 273 more licences than the previous year. It is important to note, however, that the number of applications processed does not indicate the number of new commercial activities, but simply the number of applications processed from those received.”
In 2003 there was a total of 1306 applications for trading licenses for new commercial activities, while during the year 2004 there was an increase of 80 applications for a total of 1,386 applications for new commercial activities.
The Trade Licensing Unit processed 1,063 of these applications in 2003, while in 2004 the number of processed applications rose to 1103, an increase of 40 on the previous year.
Vassallo also explained how the trading licenses are divided according to whether the commercial activity is being carried out from within premises or not. He says, “The number of licences for new commercial activities being carried out from premises issued in 2003 was 825, while in 2004 the number of licenses was of 817. The number of licenses for street hawkers in 2003 was of 116, while in 2004 the number rose to 126 licenses issued, an increase of 10 licenses on the previous year. Meanwhile, the increase in the number of licenses issued for Market Hawkers in 2004 was of 33. I must point out that nowadays it is not enough for a market hawker to have a license issued by the Trade Licensing Unit, but s/he must also have the approval of the relevant Local Council in order to be able to sell at an open market.”
Vassallo reiterates that every commercial activity must have a license. The procedure for obtaining a license has now been simplified and made more efficient, and it is imperative that all traders ensure that their licenses are in order.
The statistics for 2004 show an increase in the number of new commercial activities that are taking place in premises that were already being used for commercial purposes. It is apparent that the work that has been carried out to make the change of use license procedure more efficient has resulted in more transfers and change of genres in already existing shops.
When one takes a look at the number of cancellations of trading licenses, one can see that during 2003 there were 153 cancellations, while in 2004 the number of cancellations rose to 369. It must be pointed out that a cancellation does not necessarily mean that the premises have closed down. In the majority of cases, cancellations indicate a transfer.

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