L-OECD, l-organizzazzjoni għall-koperazzjoni u l-iżvilupp ekonomiku fl-aħħar ħarġet dokument mistenni tagħha dwar proċedura ġdida (imsejħa BEPS) li għandha tkun maqbula bejn il-gvernijiet dwar kif jiġu rapportati l-profitti tal-kumpanji multinazzjonali. Fil-kontijiet tagħhom dawn jipprovaw jevitaw it-taxxi billi l-profitti li jagħmlu f’pajjiż jgħadduhom minn pajjiż ieħor.

L-istess sforz biex l-evażjoni tat-taxxa titnaqqas fl-Ewropa qed isir mill-Kummissjoni Ewropea u mill-Parlament Ewropew.

Punt kardinali f’dan kollu qed ikun jekk l-informazzjoni dwar kemm jaqilgħu pajjiż pajjiż il-kumpaniji l-kbar għandhiex tkun miftuħa għal “kulħadd”, jew għandhiex tkun magħrufa biss mill-pajjiżi involuti li jqassmuha bejniethom. Uħud jinsistu li jekk ċerti regoli ta’ kif jiġu rapportati d-dħul u l-ħruġ jiddaħħlu biss għall-kumpaniji Ewropej, jew għall-kumpaniji li joperaw fl-Ewropa, l-azjendi Ewropej se jitpoġġew taħt żvantaġġ.

Biex dan ma jiġrix, jekk ħaddieħor ma jsegwix lill-Ewropa fil-ħeġġa tagħha biex tkun strinġenti, talanqas il-proċedura segwita mill-OECD tista’ tapplika għal “kulħadd”.

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Tisħon

Ir-ritmu li għaddejja bih l-ekonomija Maltija hu inkoraġġanti imma nerġa’ ngħid, irridu nżommu saqajna mal-art dwar xi jkun għaddej.

Punt li jrid jibqa’ quddiem għajnejna naħseb hu li parti sostanzjali mir-rankatura ġejja mis-servizzi. Dan qed jiġġenera konsum għoli minn ċerti saffi tal-popolazzjoni li jaffettwa kważi minnufih l-użu ta’ ċerti riżorsi u infrastrutturi. Il-prezzijiet ta’ uħud minnhom jibdew telgħin u l-iskarsezzi jew l-iġġammjar f’diversi setturi malajr jibdew jinħassu. Biex tgħaxxaqha l-burokrazija f’pajjiżna għadha tikkomplika l-affarijiet.

Fl-oqsma tal-bini, tal-bejgħ u x-xiri tal-propjetà, fix-xiri tal-karozzi, fit-traffiku, fil-bżonn ta’ ħaddiema teknikament imħejjija f’ċerti setturi, malajr jistgħu jinqalgħu problemi akuti.

Qed tagħti xhieda ta’ dan l-imblukkar regolari tat-traffiku fl-arterji prinċipali.

Il-fenomenu jissejjaħ “overheating” — bħal f’karozza b’magna li qed tisħon wisq int u ssuqha — hemm aħna, reġa’ daħal it-traffiku fl-istorja.

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Inkjesta

Kien okkażjoni ta’ nostalġija għalija l-ħruġ mill-SKS tat-tieni edizzjoni ta’ ktieb ta’ drammi ppublikat snin twal ilu, “Qabel Tiftaħ l-Inkjesta u drammi oħra”.

Id-drammi nkitbu aktar minn nofs ħajja ilu fi żmien meta t-teatru Malti kien qed jinbidel f’linja mal-bidliet li ġarrab il-pajjiż wara l-Indipendenza. L-istrutturi ta’ tmexxija u l-opportunitajiet għall-iżvilupp tal-palk kienu ħafna anqas avvanzati minn tal-lum.

Kont qtajt qalbi li se jkun hemm ċans li l-biċċiet miktuba se jittellgħu fuq il-palk jew it-televixin. U kont semmejthom “drammi għall-kexxun” anki jekk uħud minnhom kienu ngħataw premju jew tnejn.

Minn dak iż-żmien lil hawn, b’xorti tajba u b’impenn kbir ta’ nies ġodda u dedikati, ix-xena teatrali f’Malta marret ħafna għall-aħjar. Nosservaha mill-bogħod tiżviluppa u titjieb, u nieħu gost b’dan.

English Version – Taxation again

The Organization for Economic and Economic Cooperation (OECD) has published a document that has been long in preparation defining a new procedure (BEPS) to be agreed between governments regarding how profits should be reported by multinational companies. As of now, these deploy accounts structured in such a way as to avoid taxes due, by switching from one country to another the profits being declared.

Similar efforts to reduce tax avoidance in Europe are being carried out by the European Commission and the European Parliament.

A crucial point in all this is whether the information about the profits made by companies country by country is going to be public, or whether it should be known only to the countries involved, as they distribute it to each other. Some claim that if rules regarding reports on income and outgo apply only to European countries, or only to countries operating in Europe, European firms will be placed at a disadvantage.

For this not to happen, if others fail to follow in Europe’s footsteps as it strains to maximise tax stringency, at least the procedure suggested by the OECD should apply to “all”.

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Overheating

Encouraging as it is, the economic growth we are experiencing had best, I repeat, be evaluated from a realistic perspective.

One point that needs to be kept in view is that a significant part of growth is being generated by services. This encourages higher consumption by some strata of the population which then almost immediately affects the use of certain resources and infrastructures. Their price levels begin to rise and scarcities or logjams in a number of sectors soon begin to be felt. To complicate matters, bureaucracy is still creating difficulties in how things are run.

Construction, real estate, car sales, traffic conditions, and the demand for technically trained workers in some activities could quickly develop acute bottlenecks.

The traffic jams that regularly occur on our main roads demonstrate how this can happen.

The phenomenon is called “overheating” — similar to what goes on when the engine heats up excessively as a car is being driven. There you are, traffic has come back into the picture.

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Inquiry

For me, feelings of nostalgia coloured the publication by SKS of a second edition of a book of plays issued many years ago “Qabel Tiftaħ l-Inkjesta u drammi oħra” (“Prior to the Inquiry and other plays”).

They were written at a time when the Maltese theatre was undergoing deep changes in line with the transformations that the island was experiencing in the wake of Independence, more than half a lifetime away. At the time, the management structures and the opportunities available for the development of drama were much less well placed than they are today.

I had lost hope that the plays as written would ever stand a chance of being performed on stage or television. So I labelled them “plays for the drawer” even if some had managed to swing a prize or two.

Since then, luckily and due to the strong commitment of new drama activists, dedicated to the cause, the Maltese theatrical scene has greatly progressed. I feel glad at how it has developed and improved, as I observe it from a distance.