Cover photo: Prime Minister Robert Abela and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri during a recent meeting with employers’ associations and unions
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has publicly urged the government to be less conservative in its approach to help businesses emerge strongly from the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis and is privately pushing for direct financial aid to businesses to be doubled.
“We must use our public funds in the best way possible and in a responsible manner,” Schembri said. “We must be more courageous and give everything possible to safeguard businesses and jobs so that we’ll be able to jumpstart the economy.”
“We want everyone speeding off with a strong car and not with a broken-down car, and the government must be less conservative to help businesses as much as they need. We can help them more and I’m sure that businesses and workers will play their part too. #WeWillBeatCovid19 #Covid19Economic Support.”
The Malta Independent reported today that Schembri is pushing for direct assistance to businesses to be double and Lovin Malta can confirm that this is the case.
The government this week launched a €1.8 billion package to help businesses but this was largely focused on tax deferrals and bank guarantees.
Meanwhile, businesses who have been forced to temporarily shut down will only benefit from a two days per week government payment based on a salary cap of €800 per month, or three days per week if they employ people.
Essentially this means that self-employed businesses will benefit from €320 a month or €480 a month if they employ people, plus an additional €320 per employee.
However, Prime Minister Robert Abela said today that the government will intervene more aggressively to safeguard jobs, even if it comes at the cost of its budget going from a surplus to a deficit.
“Our public funds are the result of taxes paid by workers, businesses and self-employed people, the economy has grown thanks to investments carried out by businesses and people and we shouldn’t try to destroy this,” he said. “Now is the time for the government to intervene aggressively to save businesses and jobs and if this means going from a surplus to a deficit, then so be it. The surplus is there to be used and we will use it.”