Businesses in Gozo face a dire situation as many feel that they will be forced to scale down or even close as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
70.8% of businesses that took part in a survey conducted by The Gozo Business Chamber felt that the developments of COVID-19 have affected them negatively with 33.3% noting how they will have to downsize their workforce and 50% claiming that they will have to close down if the virus persists.
Respondents to the survey in question stemmed from industries such as tourism, retail, construction, finance, legal, health, manufacturing and transport on the island of Gozo.
The Maltese government has introduced a grant to incentivise teleworking and a giving a two-month moratorium on collecting taxes. However, just 6% of Gozitan businesses feel like this is enough to stem the tide.
On the other hand, 31% indicate that more could been done to assist businesses, while 63% indicated that the measures are insufficient and with no impact.
All in all, 93.8% of the respondents commented that a specific aid package for Gozitan businesses should be formulated.
The survey also highlighted two main challenges being faced by Gozitan businesses which are the need for cash flow and the ability to retain employees. To this end, The Gozo Business Chamber proposed that:
- Wages should be subsidised
- Quarantine leave should be shouldered by the government
- Employers should only pay 50% of their National Insurance contributions
- Grants and loans at subsidised rates should be offered to businesses and,
- A specific incentive package for Gozitan businesses