Rent proposals discussed ahead of next week’s COVID-19 Budget

SME Chamber expects govt to recognise its responsibility towards saving businesses

Preserving businesses’ current condition and not let it deteriorate further until the economy starts improving is where urgent government support is necessary, stated the Malta Chamber of SMEs during a meeting with Minister Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius and the Lands Authority Chairman Lino Farrugia Sacco and CEO James Piscopo to discuss matters related to the immediate support businesses need with regards to rent.

Malta Chamber of SMEs President Paul Abela and CEO Abigail Mamo said that piling rental costs represents one of the main concerns that businesses are experiencing in this precarious time of COVID-19 and expenses accumulating during this time will take very long to recuperate making the recovery of businesses longer and more difficult.

SME Chamber President Paul Abela said that ‘as an SME Chamber they expect the government to recognise the responsibility it has towards saving business and should lead by example’.

It was proposed that the Lands Authority should be giving aggressive discounts at the moment that would see the tenant paying only a share of what is due for the time being.

“We have to collectively realise that business is down across the board, with some sectors reporting figures of just 10% turnover compared to the norm. The same expectation goes for the Malta Industrial Parks that should also be leading by example”- said Paul Abela.

The SME Chamber said that specific schemes should be made available for landlords to encourage a burden-sharing approach where the landlord forfeits a part of his/her revenue and the government subsidises another part, leaving the tenant with his/her share to pay.

During the meeting discussions also focused on extending current rental schemes to open opportunities to businesses in government owned property wishing to consolidate their position and invest in their establishment. It was agreed that a joint study would be undertaken to ensure a tailored approach given the current sensitive scenario that should lead to a nation-wide scheme for businesses.

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