Pressure group Moviment Graffitti has urged the government to impose a moratorium on bank loan payments to help people and businesses alike deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
“We welcome Prime Minister Robert Abela’s statement where he claimed that workers should not carry the burden of the coronavirus crisis,” Graffitti said. “Therefore we believe that, together with the positive measures that the Government is taking to ensure the health and safety of the people, a number of social measures should be implemented to support workers and those who have the least resources in society.”
With countries worldwide coming to terms with the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, countries have started announcing schemes to help people cope with.
Serbia’s Finance Minister yesterday said the country’s central bank will impose a 90-day moratorium on loan payments, while his UK counterpart confirmed plans to give homeowners a three-month mortgage holiday.
Malta’s economic plans are expected to be laid out in a ‘mini-budget’ by the end of the week.
Besides the loan payment moratorium, Graffitti also proposed temporary unemployment benefits for workers on non-fixed term contracts and self-employed people, a similar scheme to one recently launched by Ireland.
It also called for the establishment of a government fund which will offer interest-free loans to private companies to help them pay their employees, similar to a scheme launched by the UK.
“These funds should be paid back slowly to the Government without interest, once the economy starts picking up again,” it said.
“While it is commendable for the Government to help businesses during this difficult moment, it is not right that companies, which until a few days ago were making huge profits, expect the people to carry the burden as soon as their profits temporarily decline.”
“It is not fair that their profits remain private, while their losses become shared by the public. Therefore, our proposal is for help by the Government to take the form of an interest-free loan which will eventually be repaid.”