The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB) welcomes the introduction of the Fair-Trading Act 2023 which comes into effect from the 1st of October. This reformed legislation promises to simplify the business license application process. Whilst changes are welcomed, the GFSB feels the new Act could have included further amendments on the previous Act and that there are areas where more clarity is needed.
Owen Smith, the GFSB’s Chairperson commented, “The GFSB welcomes the proactive engagement and consultation by the GoG on this Act, even though its implementation was delayed by many years. Streamlining processes, expediting licensing, and introducing online procedures will positively impact our members and the wider business community. It’s a step in the right direction, but we feel that some aspects of the Act still need ongoing attention, especially regarding its enforcement.”
The GFSB praised the Government of Gibraltar (GoG) for listening to the concerns of its members through solid and consistent consultation in developing the Act. It hopes the new Act will make starting and running a business easier, speed up many processes, and allow businesses to do important tasks online. These changes are a great step forward and will help to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship in Gibraltar. Whilst the GFSB is optimistic about the Act, not all member concerns have been addressed. The GFSB would like to see services entirely removed from the Acts remit and confirmation that the law will apply equally to everyone conducting business in Gibraltar, including government and government owned companies. Effective enforcement of the Act is also essential for local and cross-border unlicensed businesses.
The GFSB looks forward to confirmation that the Office of Fair Trading will be sufficiently resourced to carry out enforcement effectively. Lastly, it highlights the importance of revising the legislation regularly to ensure it moves with the times and remains relevant to the changing needs of local businesses. “The implementation of this revised legislation has taken years so we look forward to this process becoming far speedier and more fluid”.
The GFSB represents a cross-section of local businesses and is committed to working closely with the GoG,the Chamber of Commerce and the wider business community. It believes working collaboratively on projects like this can make Gibraltar an even better place to do business.