Rent subsidy scheme is laudable but budget is too low, says Malta Chamber

Government allocates €2.5 million towards rent subsidy scheme

Miguela Xuereb

The Malta Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the government taking on board its proposal to create a scheme to subsidise commercial rent for small businesses.

The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri has in fact today launched the Industrial Rent Subsidy Scheme 2020 with a budget allocation of €2,500,000.

The purpose of the scheme, which will be applicable between the 1st February until 31st December 2022, is to financially assist new businesses and self-employed that would like to rent an industrial space from a third party to commence a new business activity, implement growth plans, handle an increase in orders and implement innovations to increase efficiency.

Companies, cooperatives and registered self-employed can benefit up to €75,000 over 3 years in rent subsidy through an aid intensity of up to 50% of the cost.

However, The Malta Chamber stated that the budget of €2.5m dedicated to the initiative is too low to cater for the expected demand it will attract.

The Chamber said that that rent is generally the second greatest expense for any business following salaries. Therefore, it is crucial that the government implements this scheme correctly with the adequate budget right from the start.

The President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, David Xuereb said that although the initiative is laudable, the budget is lamentably too low to make a real. Therefore, The Malta Chamber calls on Government to dedicate more funds for this laudable scheme, as it is expected to be quickly oversubscribed

At the same time, the government is encouraged to ensure that the fund is used judiciously to support companies that were viable and tax compliant before the COVID-19 situation, said the Malta Chamber.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that the government is ensuring that commercial activity is not neglected during the COVID-19 pandemic and that this scheme will assist companies and self-employed to start, develop or expand further their operations.

This rent subsidy will serve as an opportunity to ease burdens the business community faces with regard to renting premises, and allow them to generate economic activity in return for investment and the creation of new jobs, said Minister Schembri.

The applicants eligible for this scheme must be engaged in the following operational activities and sectors:

  • manufacturing
  • repair of machinery and equipment
  • maintenance and repairs of motor
  • vehicles and other industrial activities

Through the application, the applicant must demonstrate that during the 2 fiscal years preceding the year in which the application is submitted, they employed one hundred or less persons on a full-time contract and that its annual turnover did not exceed €10 million in the two 2 fiscal years preceding the year in which the application is submitted.

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.