“Coronavirus impact on Maltese economy inevitable” – PM Abela

Robert Abela
Photo: DOI Jason Borg

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Posted by Newsbook.com.mt on Saturday, March 14, 2020

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that the government will postpone tax payments and social security payments to the self-employed and business owners who are being affected the most by coronavirus.

During a press conference held at Castille on Saturday morning, Prime Minister Abela said that the measures are aimed to help the business community and families. Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri also addressed the press conference.

Prime Minister Robert Abela said the government is excluding a lockdown at this stage. He said that health authorities are not suggesting to announce a lockdown and he would want to announce this as a last resort as the government is aware that such harsh measure will have a drastic effect on our economy and on the people’s daily lives. He again appealed to the public to stay calm as there is no need for anyone to panic.

Companies working in the tourism, transport, recreation and hospitality are the most businesses which are currently being affected by the coronavirus situation in Malta.

The tax and social security payments due for this month and April will be postponed to a later date which is still to be communicated by the government.

Robert Abela also said that payments to businesses such as VAT refunds will be paid with immediate effect as a measure to continue helping the private sector. This applies also to the self-employed.

Abela also said that the government is taking such measures to safeguard the economy.

The Prime Minister said that decisions communicated to the media and public are being taken in view of the developments which are being monitored both by the government and the health authorities.

“This is temporary” – Finance Minister Edward Scicluna

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that the government has allocated around €100 million in emergency funding towards coronavirus. He then said the government will continue working on another financial package to be allocated. He called the financial readjustment and financial packages allocated as a ‘mini-budget’.

Scicluna also said that banks have also accepted to cooperate with the government.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that all member states of the European Union have agreed that this is a temporary situation and that they have the responsibility together to bring back economic stability once the coronavirus situation is over.

“We are in this all together” – Economy Minister Silvio Schembri

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that Malta is able to face this situation as a result of the economic and financial decisions taken by the government in the past 7 years.

He then said that Malta’s financial situation has never been this good.

Minister Schembri announced a scheme for all those companies which have asked their employees to work from home and therefore have invested in teleworking. Schembri said that the scheme consists of a 45% refund for each worker.

Silvio Schembri also said that the government will continue to work with health authorities, with employers and employee’s representatives to come up with the right measures and safeguard the economy. He then appealed to employers to not worry about paying their employees as the government will continue announcing measures to assist businesses.

Economy Minister said that this is the time to show how the government can use the economic surplus registered.

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