Coronavirus, Maltese government announces 1.81 billion aid programme
The Maltese government has announced new measures in a bid to help local businesses and the working community in light of the ongoing crises caused by the coronavirus. Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed that the costed measures amount to almost 2 billion and described the aid package as “generous but required in the present circumstances”.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna described the government’s aid as better than the average within the European Union. He also said that the Eurozone will be facing a recession. Malta’s 1.81 billion package is equal to 12.9% of Malta’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product.
During the press conference, it was confirmed that 35 million were allocated for health authorities to fight COVID-19.
Scicluna said that the postponement of income tax, VAT, and National Insurance dues for March and April for employers and the self-employed will cost between 400-700 million while this financial package includes loan guarantees which amount to €900 million. He said that these measures will enable banks to help businesses cope. The Finance Minister also said that there will be a direct injection of €210 million to assist the economy so that jobs will be saved.
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that those enterprises who suffered from at least a 25% reduction in operations will be helped. Employers are also to be given 350 euro for every employee on quarantine leave and there will be special measures to cover leave for families and the wage bill of businesses who have had to close because of the outbreak of coronavirus.
Schembri also announced that Malta won’t be accepting applications “for new third-country nationals” except for those who are highly-skilled while the government agency ‘Jobsplus’ has launched a new service to assist the third-country nationals who lost their job.
He also said that the Government Housing Subsidies will be increased for those families where one dependent had their employment terminated. The government will also increase the unemployment benefit for those losing their full-time job after 9 March.
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