A total of 56 entities working in the media sector have written to Prime Minister Robert Abela to urge him to deliver measures to protect their industry in view of the coronavirus spreading in Malta.
On Tuesday, 37 entities had already signed the open letter to Prime Minister Abela.
In their letter, they said that they are aware of the fragility of their businesses and they are used to it but said that the latest developments on coronavirus will leave an immense impact on their survival.
Gege Gatt, Chairman of Newsbook.com.mt was amongst the entities signing the letter.
The companies said they wrote the letter knowing that the Prime Minister will see this threat with the same clarity they do.
“We can only trust that you will use the collective resource of the nation that you have in your custody, now that it matters the most, to give help how and where it is needed. This moment of great need calls for present and clear action.”
The following are the suggestions put forward to protect the service sector;
- Direct assistance of at least 50% of the payroll incurred by the companies for the months of April and May 2020 following which a reassessment will be made for a possible automatic extension
- Government subsidy on bank interest for any business facility used to maintain ongoing business
- A direct subsidy to go against current rental expenses
- A temporary adjustment to employees’ tax rates
- Quarantine leave to be carried by Government
- A temporary six-month suspension or downward revision on VAT
- Confirmation that the recently announced deferral of fiscal payments and any subsequent measure in this regard will also include our sector or indeed all the service sector
- Deferral of any fiscal payments will not incur interest and/or penalties
“Brand managers, marketing consultants, media platforms, news providers, digital experts, artists, designers, sign-writers, videographers, film studios, public relations advisors; our extended business ecosystem is a rich and varied one that is in the business of building messages that matter, to grow and sustain the business. We see this storm fast approaching, each month of ‘runway’ burns away faster and louder.”
In their letter which was also addressed to Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo, the companies said that they warrant to carry their share of the situation to keep the country going whatever it may cost as nothing takes precedence over the preservation of human life and the safeguarding of its values.