Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
As predicted by Newsbook.com.mt, Prime Minister Robert Abela, late Tuesday evening is announcing the second tranche of economic aid. The measures are aimed at providing a safety net to the industries most threatened by COVID – 19 and have clearly taken on board the proposals made by the social partners. Most notably, and recognised publicly by the Prime Minister himself, the proposals also took on board the recommendations which were coordinated by the Malta Chamber.
PM Abela announced a total package of €70 million monthly for the next three months and would be reviewed as required. He said that the aim of the economic packages is for the country to land on its feet, running. He said that our industries must keep ticking so that they can re-start quickly. To decrease bureaucracy, each industry will have a password to see what aid is applicable to that sector. Abela even said that he would be offering a month’s salary towards the funding in this time of crisis. Abela said that he was ready for government to go into deficit if necessary so that the country can overcome this situation.
PM Abela said that the government will be paying the full salary of €800 over 60,000 employees whose livelihood is being directly threatened by the spread of the virus. This will also be applied retroactively to the 9th March. Where the income exceeds this amount, the employer pays the difference u to €1,200 per month. Beyond that, the PM appealed to the workers to ‘be flexible and reasonable’.
In his press conference last week, Prime Minister Abela had said that the package being unveiled then was but the first and the measures announced last week are now being enhanced by the measures announced on today.
Concern for liquidity
PM Abela expressed concern that at the moment the country faces a situation of no or little liquidity. He said that the plan was to float stocks with a good yield so that the takeup will be assured. This should release some of the €13 billion in private savings and help generate liquidity. Government is resisting the idea of delving into the rainy day funds, opting instead to used these funds as collateral to banks.
Measures for the workers:
- Parents who are not taking their children to childcare centres will be receiving €800 monthly. This applies to those parents who work in the private sector. Those who work in the public sector will be finding greater flexibility in employment.
- The approximately 2000 disabled workers in the private sector will benefit from €800 monthly if they choose to stay at home.
- Those who will lose their job because of pandemic-induced redundancies will also get €800.
The public can apply for these measures through the Social Security Services website.
The measures apply to all employees and to the self-employed.
Prime Minister Abela said that tourism will suffer a loss of €2 billion adding that Malta will ‘be lucky’ to see tourists by December 2020. This is a sector which will be the hardest hit and whose fall-out will affect 110,000 workers, almost a quarter of the population. In this case:
- The government will be paying the minimum wage €800 per month for every employer or self-employed in the sectors of wholesale, retail, accommodation, restaurants, car rentals, employment activities, security, cleaning, transport, entertainment. Abela said that this will cost the exchequer €44 million per month. Part-timers to be given €500 per month.
- For the self-employed in Malta in the manufacturing sector, the government will pay 1-day salary plus 1 day as self-employed with immediate effect.
- for less critically hit sectors, the government will be paying for a day’s work based on the hourly rate applicable to the €800 per month.
A specific package was designed for Gozo and here, the critical sectors will benefit from the €800 per month scheme. In the areas of manufacturing and retail government will immediately start paying self-employed 3 days’ wages.
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