Malta has come in at first place when it comes to economic measures taken and supplements given in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has found.
Over €4.16 trillion worth of emergency measures have been rolled out by countries worldwide, including things like handouts of rice and beans for the poor in India and a €750 cheque to families in the bottom 70% income bracket in South Korea.
However, a new study by Columbia economics professor Ceyhun Elgin has found that when it comes to the percentage of a country’s GDP being put towards COVID-19 support systems, Malta beats out the other 165 countries in the study.
Malta is spending around 22% of its GDP, according to the study.
Japan, which comes in second, is spending around 20% of its GDP to combat the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic.
Developed countries like Luxembourg, Belgium and the Unites States follow Japan for the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed nations.
Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced a €1.81 billion package for Maltese businesses in March.
That is 12.9% of Malta’s 2019 GDP and included such measures as tax deferrals of up to €700 million and loan guarantees of €900 million.
Malta also announced a wage supplement scheme that will cost around €65 to €70 million a month. 55,000 local workers have already benefitted from this scheme, which is predicted to affect over 90,000 people.
In a press conference today, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri welcomed the study’s findings.
“Malta was amongst the first countries in the world which issued disbursements to protect businesses and self-employed whilst safeguarding jobs. This report reflects Malta’s economic strength in dealing with such adversities by virtue of the solid foundations built during the past seven years,” he said.
“It also complements recent reports by financial institutions and agencies,” he continued, “which remarked that Malta should overcome the economic impact brought about by the COVID19 pandemic. Therefore, as a government, we shall continue at this pace to ensure that economic activity gets back on its feet.”