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Government’s COVID-19 Business Measures ‘Have No Impact’ And Are No Way Close To What’s Actually Needed

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Government’s measures to help businesses weather the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus will have “no impact and are no way close to what businesses need to sustain jobs”, the Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises has warned.

Several business leaders have also called the measure ineffective, calling on the government to do more to protect local enterprises.

The government has introduced a grant to incentivise teleworking and a giving a two-month moratorium on collecting taxes. However, they believe these measures do not go far enough.

“The government seems not to be understanding the dire situation Maltese businesses are in. Businesses need real measures now and today as they will not be able to sustain their workforce any more,” the Chamber said.

A survey the Chamber conducted also found that their members were “appalled” to learn that the measures were unfit and that the burden of quarantine leave has been secretly placed on businesses.

No mention of this measure was allegedly made by the Prime Minister when he met with the Chamber a few days ago.

“The Chamber of SMEs pertinently points out that this means that government wants employers to bear the cost entirely and for the days to be added over and above the current employee leave entitlement.”

“The government must now put money where its mouth is because talk is cheap, and time is running out.”

Around 5% of the Chamber’s members have begun reporting redundancies, while another 5% have released people on unpaid leave. Approximately 20% are experiencing problems in paying their wages.

“Working remotely does not work for everyone, and in all cases, this will only take them so far.”

Meanwhile, several business leaders have also come forward to say that measures have also been ineffective, with many of them already reducing trading hours and days.

“With no cash flowing in from turnover, these measures will only give us a temporary lifeline,” they said of the tax cut.

The Chamber called on the government to immediately cover two-thirds of businesses’ wage bill across the board, including self-employed. There should also be moratoria from banks for loan and overdraft repayments for the next few months.

A suspension of taxation, moratoria on fines, and guarantees of transportation of goods should also be secured.

The business leaders echoed these sentiments, adding that the government should also adjust the tax rates on employees taxes.

Signatories of Business leaders letter:

Kevin Grech – Hudson Holdings Ltd; Mario Camilleri – Big Bon Group; Simon Gatt Baldacchino – United Department Stores Ltd ;Joseph Borg – Trilogy Ltd ; Kenneth Mizzi – SAK Ltd;Simon Mizzi – Rubicon Ltd; Andrew Calascione – Supermarkets (1960) Ltd; Marlene Seychell – CKK Holdings;’ Nicky Camilleri – Arkadia Marketing Ltd; Emma Miller – Miller; Group’Tonio Camilleri – Camilleri Group; Roberta Caruana Stivala – Thumbelina Ltd; Christine Pace – Dorkins Ltd; Lauro Abela – Franks Stores Co Ltd; Diane Izzo – Dizz Group; Jerome Grech – Superbrands Ltd; Romina Fenech – Sterling Group Ltd; Peter Borg – Bortex Group; Charles Mifsud – United Fashion Ltd

READ NEXT: Malta Enterprise Offers €4,000 Grant To Get People Working From Home Also Revealing Tax Moratorium Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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