More is needed in the immediate term, says Malta Chamber

The assistance shouldn't be limited to just a contribution to wages

More is needed in the immediate term said the President of The Malta Chamber, David Xuereb in a statement issued by The Malta Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry which emphasised on the number of proposals put forward by The Chamber in the past weeks to further assist businesses not only through wage supplements.

All proposals result from intense consultation processes aimed at providing businesses with the necessary help to survive the COVID-19 crisis and be given a fighting chance to land on their feet once the current impasse is over, said Xuereb.

The Malta Chamber has called for deferments on all forms of taxation, including Income Tax, VAT as well as of Excise Duties in order to help liquidity.

It has proposed that rental fees payable to Malta Industrial Parks are waived and those to the Lands Authority are suspended with suspensions applicable to sub-leases.

On commercial rents, it has proposed an equitable system between the landlord and tenant stipulating that, during the crisis, the rent is reduced by a pre-determined percentage and if it is not paid, it becomes payable in full.

The Chamber also proposed that the Banking System ensure that liquidity reaches business whilst keeping the cost of borrowing low and that banks should not unnecessarily withhold loans for projects.

The Malta Chamber of Commerce said that ensuring a healthy and vibrant capital market is also critical in a scenario where issuers do not have adequate revenue to support their obligations. Thus, the Chamber proposes a fund to enable intervention in the capital markets through asset purchase programmes providing necessary stability.

The Companies Act needs to be amended to render liquidations as efficient quick and painless as possible, to limit liability on creditor claims directly related to COVID-19, and to give directors of these companies every fair opportunity for a second chance, explained The Malta Chamber of Commerce.

“The assistance Government has afforded businesses so far has already gone a long way, as it has allowed some businesses to keep their employees on board. This will come to their great advantage upon resumption of normal business ” – Perit David Xuereb.

The Malta Chamber is also proposing that companies that lose at least half of their turnover are to be supported by wage subsidies equivalent to €800 per month per employee and companies that lose 25-49 per cent are to be afforded a €400 benefit per month per employee.

Special assistance is to be given to proactive companies that are investing in their future viability in a post-COVID-19 world, said The Malta Chamber.

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